How many calories should you burn a week?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

jogging
Experts say we should measure physical activity with time, not calories burned.

Keeping our bodies in tip-top shape often involves a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity. While there’s a common belief that we need to burn about 2,000 calories a week, recent research shows we should focus more on the time spent working out rather than the number of calories burned.

So, where did this idea of 2,000 calories get started in the first place? Well, there was a study conducted several years ago that followed male Harvard graduates for five decades. The researchers found that the guys who burned less than 2,000 calories a week were 64% more likely to suffer from heart disease.

However, the study’s conclusions were based on shaky evidence! Unfortunately, the damage had already been done and the public was stuck with the false notion that 2,000 calories a week was a good goal.

There have been many more reliable scientific studies published since then, and experts say that 30 minutes a day spent biking or power walking is good enough to keep us healthy. If that sounds too intense for you, a recent study found that you can divide these 30 minutes into 12-minute chunks spread throughout the day!

Since pushing our bodies too hard may damage to our hearts, trying to burn 2,000 calories a week can actually be dangerous.

Featured image courtesy of Robin McConnell on Flickr.  Image of wintry runner courtesy of Kyle Cassidy on Wikipedia.