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Explaining Calories

Pediatric Fitness

Explaining Calories

UW Health's Pediatric Fitness Clinic in Madison, WisconsinPediatric Fitness at UW Health offers a program to help children develop healthy habits of exercise and good nutrition.

About Burning Calories

Everyone needs certain calories to function properly. But if we eat more calories than our body needs, and we do not work off the extra calories, we gain weight. That's why it is very important to have a balance between healthy eating and regular exercise to gain and maintain a healthy weight.

How fast a person burns off calories depends a few factors. A person's age and their size are factors. Also, how hard an individual plays or exercises is a factor. For example, a person walking at two miles per hour will burn fewer calories than a person running at five miles per hour.

A Common Mistake

One mistake people make when trying to lose weight or starting an exercise program is thinking that they burn more calories than they actually do after a workout. For example, walking a mile burns about 100 calories. Some people might "reward" themselves for the walk by eating an extra cookie.

However, that cookie could have more calories in it than was burned during the walk. This is why some say they gain weight when they start to exercise.

It is critical to eat healthy and exercise regularly, at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. The goal is to balance the calories that you eat with the calories that you burn.