There are many benefits to studying, but wouldn’t it be amazing if weight loss was one of them? When we use our brain to do mental tasks such as studying we use energy. So you may be wondering “Does Studying Help you Lose Weight?” In this post, we are going to look at how the brain uses energy and if in fact, it leads to weight loss.
Does Studying Help you Lose Weight?
While the brain, given its small size uses a lot of energy it is not sufficient enough to cause significant weight loss. The brain which accounts for 2% of our body weight uses around 320 to 450 calories on a typical day, for females and males respectively. This is about 20% of our body’s energy use. The brain even when we are at rest uses energy. The bigger the brain that we have the more energy it will use.
If we spend the majority of the day doing mentally challenging tasks then yes we are more likely to increase our energy expenditure and therefore burn more calories than someone who has spent the day just watching television. However, learning something new isn’t the most energy tasking thing for the brain so it doesn’t result in a huge increase in energy consumption.
Can I lose weight by studying for a long time?
According to fitday.com, a 135lb female will on average burn 46 calories per hour of studying. This includes reading and writing while sitting down. While it may be tempting to think that if we increase the number of mental tasks that we perform on a daily bases that we could cause it to increase the calorie consumption.
However, according to research the increase in energy consumption by increasing mental tasks is negligible suggesting that a person who performs a mentally challenging task for 8 hours would likely burn 100 calories more than a person who spends the same amount of time watching tv. And to prevent your brain from becoming mentally fatigued you would need to provide it with energy.
To replenish glucose so your brain can continue to function you would need to eat and what you eat would be very important. For example, a slice of multi-grain bread would be approximately 100 calories before you put any spread on it. So as you can see it would be easy to eat more calories than you burn.
While the brain does benefit from performing mental tasks, and there are so many benefits such as increasing concentration, memory and boosting your focus it is not the same as what happens when we do physical exercise.
When we perform physical exercise we not only burn energy but we also stimulate muscles to grow. This is turn leads to an increase in calorie burn, even when we are at rest because those muscles need more energy. So if you’re looking to drop a few pounds then exercise is the best method.
The brain, on the other hand, is not a muscle, it is an organ and the more we use it, while it is beneficial to do so, it does not grow as a muscle does. So to get weight loss results it is key to eat a healthy balanced combined with some exercise.
But all is not lost, however, in the long run, these calories used during mental task do add up. And if you have a job that is mentally demanding this can have long term benefits. To read more from this research check out the post here.
4 Tips for losing weight while studying
1) walk more
If you physically attend a college to study your course why not try walking there if it is feasible rather than driving or taking the bus. When in college walk to every class and don’t avoid taking the stairs.
If you’re studying online and work during the day take the stairs in work rather the lift. Again if you can walk or cycle to work this can be a real benefit to your weight loss. Try to get up and walk around every hour at work. Even just to get up and stretch.
2) Study habits
When studying try sitting with a correct posture as this results in more energy burn. Even better, you could walk around your room while studying rather than just sitting at a desk.
3) Eat healthily
One of the most important aspects of losing weight and keeping weight off is to eat a healthy balanced diet. It can be quite easy to develop unhealthy eating habits while studying therefore try to focus on eating real whole foods.
Eat smaller meals a few times a day to keep your energy levels stable and when studying surround yourself with healthy foods that will satisfy your cravings without packing on the pounds. Check out our posts on “what is the best food for your brain?” and “32 foods to eat while studying“
4) Use your breaks wisely
Taking regular breaks is important in order to study effectively. You can use these breaks to do some exercise. For example, you could do some yoga or go for a short walk.
So, Does Studying Help You Lose Weight?
Regularly performing mental tasks are great for your brain. It helps to improve focus, concentration and your memory. But does studying help you lose weight? While you will use energy while studying it is unlikely to be significant enough to see any dramatic weight loss so if your a student and looking to lose weight focus on eating healthy and doing some exercise. This could be a short work every day for 30 minutes. Maybe skip the bus on your way to college the next day and instead take the opportunity to walk.