Thursday 22 March 2018

How many miles to run off a burger?

Liz Kearney works out the work-out mathematics

It's January, and most of us are struggling to fit back into our jeans after the annual pig-out of the festive season.

Similarly, most of us can't afford to buy new ones – so the only option, we're afraid, is to shift those Christmas pounds quicksmart and get back to a healthier lifestyle once again.

But how best to go about it? A study at the University of North Carolina – published in the journal Appetite – found that food health labels were more effective when they told consumers how far they'd have to walk to burn off the calories eaten or drank.

And January is hard enough without denying yourself any of your favourite treats. So we've done the hard work for you, and calculated just how long you'll have to spend exercising to cancel out the effects of the more calorific things you might put on your plate.

According to the Livestrong Foundation, a 130lb person walking at 3.5mph burns between 80 and 90 calories per half hour, or between 160 and 180 calories per hour. If you're heavier, you'll burn more calories.

Pint of Guinness

There are 198 calories in a pint of the black stuff, according to the makers themselves.

You'd have to walk for just over an hour to burn that off – otherwise you could try mopping the floors in your house for 45 minutes.

Glass of wine (250ml)

It's nice to unwind at the end of a long day with a nice glass of red or white.

But a 250ml glass of white wine will contain 185 calories, and a similarly sized glass of red is only marginally less fattening. You'll be walking for an hour to cancel that out.

Otherwise, get ahead with the laundry for a little over two hours; ironing burns off 75 calories an hour.

Indian takeway

Obviously the calories in your Indian meal will vary depending on what you order and where you order it from, but generally Indian cooking is heavy on cream and oil and the calorie count can be shockingly high.

According to Which? magazine, an average takeaway of chicken tikka masala, pilau rice and a plain naan bread contains a whopping 1,338 calories.

Get your hiking boots on – you'll be walking for seven hours to shift that.

Big Mac

The iconic burger might be delicious, but at 490 calories, there are less fattening options.

Let's face it though, few people ever went to Mickey D's just for the salad, so if you can't beat your burger craving, then you're just going to have to embark on a two-and-three-quarter hour walk.

Alternately, you could get the garden hoe out for a couple of hours: working in your garden burns about 250 calories an hour.

Chinese takeway

Beef with black-bean sauce can have up to 432 calories in it, and that's before you take the rice into consideration. You better be prepared to walk for the next two and a half hours. Alternately, go for a long swim: a good freestyler will burn 100 calories in just 10 minutes, so that's just 43 minutes in the pool. Easy – if you're Michael Phelps . . .

Can of Coke

At 139 calories per can, you'll have to walk for 50 minutes to burn off the calories from this fizzy treat. Alternately, a 30-minute cycle at five miles an hour should do the trick; you can burn up to 155 calories in that time.

Mars Bar

A Mars a day will add 254 calories on to your daily calorie intake.

Go walking for eighty minutes – or spend the same amount of time in the saddle: horse-riding burns around 200 calories an hour.

Bar of Dairy Milk

There are 280 calories in a standard bar of Dairy Milk. That'll take an hour and a half of walking to shift.


There are about 225 calories in a typical fruit scone (and that's before you've buttered it, or added jam or cream).

You could walk for an hour and 20 minutes, or you could try spinning for 20 minutes. Spinners burn, on average, between 400 and 600 calories in a 40-minute session.


There are 197 calories in a bag of Tayto cheese and onion crisps. That's just over an hour of walking you'll have to do. Otherwise a half-hour Zumba class – or just dancing energetically for 30 minutes – should burn those crispy calories off.

Irish Independent

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