Moderate-Intensity Exercise Boosts Calorie Burning for an Entire Day

It's okay to go at half-speed.

By Shirley Archer, JD, MA
Oct 11, 2018

Need more convincing reasons to do a moderate-intensity workout on days when skipping training is attractive? New study findings show that energy expenditure increased for at least 22 hours after bouts of moderate-intensity (50% of peak) exercise, leading to an additional 64 (±119) kilocalories burned per day. Prior research had shown that high- but not moderate-intensity exercise increased resting energy expenditure.

Study authors adjusted caloric intake to achieve energy balance; they believe this design difference isolated the exercise’s specific effects on energy expenditure. Potential mechanisms underlying the extra calorie burning include increases in fight-or-flight system stimulation and muscle damage repair following exercise.

Read the full report in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2017; doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000001386).


Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at

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