• Petra Ritter gives a thought to burning calories when we think hard in the last CORDIS online article

    • Article
    • Interview
    • Petra Ritter
    • CORDIS Petra Oct2022

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    Can we trade morning jog by game for the brain over breakfast to stay fit?

    It is the subject of interest in the CORDIS News article— ask an expert series: “Can you burn calories by thinking hard?“, published online on October 6, 2022.

    In 2018, several competitors at the Isle of Man International chess competition had their heart rates measured while they played. After a two-hour game, grandmaster Mikhail Antipovhad burned 560 calories — the equivalent of more than a five-mile run. Does it means we could lose weight by thinking harder?

    Prof. Petra Ritter was interviewed and gave her point of view on the topic, in the context of the BrainModes project:

    "But this was only inferred from breathing rates, blood pressure and muscle contractions. Although these can be as high for chess players in tournaments as athletes during exercise, it doesn’t mean the same energy is used."

    Actually, using assessment metric for energy expenditure and fuel utilization by the body, studies have shown that chess players only burned an average of 1.58 kcal per min during an entire game, compared with 1.53 when they were at rest (Troubat et al., Eu J Appl Physiol, 2009).

    “It’s actually intrinsic activity for basic functioning that needs the most energy, surprisingly additional tasks such as reading require no more than 5 % extra energy,”

    Although thinking hard uses calories, the energy burn is minimal. It’s not enough to burn fat and cause weight loss!

    Find out more

    Read the full CORDIS online article here. Available in 6 languages!

    Learn more about the BrainModes projet here.

    Visit the official website of CORDIS, the European Commission's primary source of results from the projects funded by the EU's framework programmes for research and innovation, from FP1 to Horizon Europe.