Do calories burned for activity include RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) -burned calories? E.g. if one burns 300 calories walking 1 hour, does that include 100 calories burned per hour just by being alive? I understand that different sources might do this differently, but what's most common?


3 Answers 3


Technically RMR should not be factored in the calorie burn rate. the calorie burn is estimated from the amount of work done.

Calorie expenditure is an estimate using statistical regression analysis to estimate calorie burn. The amount of error is often greater than RMR. Manufacturers of aerobic machines will most definitely over estimate calorie burn rate.

To further complicate matters the analysis only pertains to the participants in the study.

Worse is since the advent of the PC the equations lack common sense. The researchers plug the results of their study in to the PC and the PC spits out a nonsensical equation. Prior to the PC regression analysis took much effort and the person doing the analysis was able to use some common sense in developing the equations.

Running, walking, stair steppers, and a calibrated stationary cycle ergometer with accurate measurement of torque and rotational speed, can more accurately estimate calorie burn. In these types of physical activity, the amount of work done is very accurate.

This does not include walking and running on a treadmill due to the mechanical assist from the motor driven belt. The common treadmill formulas (e.g ACSM Metabolic Equations) have been proven to have an error rate greater than 10%. The ACSM no longer promotes use of these equations.

Walking and running also use regression analysis (e.g. Rockport Walk) but are more accurate due to the accuracy of the amount of work done (body weight, distance, time).

Regression analysis for estimating calorie burn has a high error rate, and is often inflated by the manufacturer, making the RMR moot.

What is more important than calorie burn is how you feel about yourself when looking in the mirror or if your clothing fit is tighter or looser.


It's true that it differs, some sources include, some do not, my experience is that the wast majority of sources include RMR-burned calories. There's a similar situation with BMR calculators, these tend to use formulas that exaggerate BMR, like harris & benedict.

The reason is probably that people are happier to see that they walked one hour for 250 kcal instead of 150 kcal.


It depends. Many exercise machines don't account for it. They'll semi-accurately indicate that you've burned, say, 640 calories in the running you did, but they won't account for the fact that you would have burned 80 of those calories just sitting in a chair.

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