Does Crying Burn Calories? Let's Find out

Does Crying Burn Calories? Let’s Find out

Welcome to our investigation into the unusual correlation between emotional health and physical fitness. You’re probably familiar with the concept of burning calories through intense gym sessions, but have you ever considered that a hearty cry might also contribute? Today, we’re examining an unconventional combination – tears, heartbreak, and calories. Does crying burn calories? Let’s discover!

Does Crying Truly Burn Calories?

Who would have thought tears could help in your weight loss journey? Surprisingly, empirical evidence reveals the fascinating interplay between shedding tears and shedding pounds! Have we piqued your curiosity?

Does Crying Truly Burn Calories?

According to a study by Dr. William Frey at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, intense emotional crying can burn calories due to the increased heart rate and sweating triggered by such episodes. Imagine this – a good burst of tearful drama might be just as conducive to burning those pesky calories as an intensive workout session! 

However, keeping these findings manageable is essential; the calorific effect isn’t monumental enough to replace regular exercise or a balanced diet. But it is most certainly food (or perhaps tear) for thought – next time you’re watching that tear-jerking movie or weathering emotional turmoil, remember you may just be achieving more than catharsis – you’re potentially chipping away at some extra calories, too!

Factors Influencing Calorie Burn During Crying

The number of calories burned during crying is generally quite minimal, as it is not a physically strenuous activity. However, several factors can influence the calorie burn during crying, albeit to a limited extent:

1. Duration:

The longer you cry, the more energy your body expends, but the increase in calorie burn is still relatively minimal. Crying is not a sustained, physically demanding activity, so the extra calorie expenditure due to more prolonged bouts of crying is minor.

2. Intensity:

The intensity of your emotional response can have a small impact on calorie burn during crying. When you cry intensely, with strong emotions, your body may react more intensely, leading to slightly increased energy expenditure compared to a more subdued response. The physical and emotional aspects of crying can be intertwined, resulting in a slightly higher calorie burn during intense crying episodes.

3. Age and Metabolism:

Your age and individual metabolic rate affect calorie expenditure. Younger individuals often have faster metabolisms, leading to slightly more calories burned during activity, including crying. However, the difference in calorie expenditure due to age and metabolism remains small.

4. Emotional State:

The emotional state leading to crying can also influence calorie burn. Crying due to intense stress, sadness, or anger may result in a slightly higher energy expenditure than crying due to milder emotions. Emotional states can trigger various physiological responses, such as increased heart rate and respiration, contributing to a slight increase in calorie burn.

5. Tear Production:

Tear production and the activation of facial muscles during crying can contribute to energy expenditure. Your body expends energy to produce tears and activate facial muscles. However, these processes are not highly demanding in terms of calorie consumption.

6. Body Temperature Regulation:

Emotional crying can also influence body temperature regulation. Intense emotions cause your body to experience minor fluctuations in temperature, which requires some energy expenditure to maintain homeostasis. However, this effect on calorie burn remains minimal.

Comparing Crying to Other Calorie-Burning Activities

Crying is generally not considered a significant calorie-burning activity compared to other forms of physical exercise or daily activities. Here’s a comparison between moan and some everyday calorie-burning activities to illustrate the differences:

1. Crying vs. Exercise:

  • Crying: Crying is an emotional response and not a form of exercise. It expends only a few calories and primarily engages facial muscles and tear production. The calorie burn is minimal.
  • Exercise: Activities like jogging, swimming, or cycling can burn many calories, depending on the intensity and duration. For example, an hour of moderate jogging can burn hundreds of calories.

2. Crying vs. Housework:

  • Crying: Crying doesn’t involve physical labor or body movement, so the calorie expenditure is minimal.
  • Housework: Activities like cleaning, vacuuming, or gardening involve physical effort and can burn more calories than crying. The exact amount varies depending on the intensity and duration of the task.

3. Crying vs. Walking:

  • Crying: Crying doesn’t involve walking or any significant physical movement. The calorie expenditure is much lower compared to walking.
  • Walking: Even a leisurely walk can burn more calories than crying. The calorie burn during walking depends on factors like your walking speed and distance covered.

4. Crying vs. Intense Exercise:

  • Crying: Crying is emotionally and physiologically taxing but doesn’t engage your muscles to a significant extent. The calorie burn remains low.
  • Intense Exercise: Activities like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or weightlifting can burn a substantial number of calories quickly due to the high physical demands they place on your body.

The Psychological Benefits of Crying

Crying provides significant psychological benefits. It serves as an emotional release, helping to alleviate stress, sadness, and pent-up emotions. Tears contain stress hormones, and shedding them can reduce feelings of tension and promote a sense of relief and catharsis.

Crying also enhances emotional clarity and self-awareness, aiding in problem-solving and decision-making. It can foster connection and empathy in social settings, strengthening relationships by signaling vulnerability and eliciting support from others. Crying is a natural and healthy emotional response that contributes to well-being, resilience, and a sense of emotional balance.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while crying does burn some calories, it is not a recommended method for weight loss. The energy expended during a crying session is minimal, and the emotional toll it takes on an individual makes it an unhealthy option for calorie burning. A balanced diet and regular exercise are far more effective and sustainable ways to maintain a healthy weight.

While tears can sometimes be cathartic, using them to shed pounds is not advisable. Therefore, let’s focus on positive health habits like eating right, staying active, and managing stress in healthier ways instead of resorting to tears as a means of weight management.


Q: How many calories do you burn while crying?

A: When crying, you might burn between 1.3 to 1.5 calories per minute.

Q: Does the intensity of crying affect calorie burn?

A: Yes, intense or prolonged crying may slightly increase calorie burn compared to mild or short bouts of crying.

Q: Do babies also burn calories when they cry?

A: Yes, babies also expend energy when they cry, but it’s important for their health and development to meet their nutritional needs.

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