Does Crying Burn Calories? (A Comprehensive Evaluation)

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Key Takeaways:

  • Research shows crying burns about 1.3 calories per minute, so crying for an hour would only burn around 78 calories.
  • While minimal, crying does have other health benefits like releasing hormones, reducing stress, and potentially stimulating metabolism.
  • More effective calorie-burning activities include walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, strength training, HIIT workouts, yoga, and pilates.
  • Losing weight requires long-term lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management – crying alone won’t lead to significant weight loss.
  • If excessive crying is impacting daily life, it’s important to address the underlying cause through counseling, therapy, medication, or support groups.


Crying is a natural human emotional response to sadness, pain, anger, joy, and other strong feelings. When we cry, tears well up in the eyes and spill down the cheeks. Some people may cry easily and frequently, while others rarely shed tears.

In recent years, a question has emerged: does crying actually burn calories? Could shedding some tears help you lose weight? This article will provide a comprehensive evaluation of the link between crying and calorie expenditure. We’ll analyze the available research on crying and metabolism. You’ll also learn about other more effective ways to burn calories through diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.

Understanding whether crying can boost weight loss and burn calories will help you make informed decisions about your health regimen. The goal is to provide science-backed information so you can incorporate beneficial practices into your fitness routine. Let’s dive in to uncover the facts on crying and calories.

Can Crying Really Impact Your Calorie Burn and Weight Loss?

Crying is often triggered by intense emotions and stress. So could this strength of feeling translate to strength in calorie burn? Let’s examine what the research says.

Does Crying Burn Calories? The Scientific Evidence

Scientific studies provide data on how many calories crying can burn:

  • A study by the University of Michigan found that crying burns approximately 1.3 calories per minute.
  • Based on this evidence, crying for 5 minutes would burn about 6.5 calories.
  • Crying for one hour would burn roughly 78 calories.
  • This calorie burn from crying is due to the activation of muscles throughout the body. Sobbing causes extra breathing and movement in the shoulders, chest, and abdomen as tears are produced.
  • For further perspective, a single Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss candy bar contains around 26 calories. So one hour of crying would burn the equivalent of 3 Hershey’s Kisses.
  • Compared to other common daily activities, crying burns fewer calories than a leisurely walk (200 calories per hour), vacuuming (120 calories), or washing dishes (100 calories).

So in summary, while crying does technically burn some calories, the amount is minimal. Even prolonged crying would not add up to significant calorie expenditure for weight loss.

Other Possible Weight Loss Effects of Crying

Beyond direct calorie burn, some research indicates crying might support weight loss in other ways:

  • Crying releases hormones like adrenocorticotropic, prolactin, and leucine enkephalin. These hormones help the body recover from stress.
  • Reducing stress hormones like cortisol could help decrease belly fat accumulation over time. Cortisol triggers fat storage in the abdomen.
  • Crying may stimulate metabolism through the cascade of hormone releases. A boosted metabolic rate could promote calorie burn.

However, substantial evidence is still needed to confirm these secondary effects of crying on weight loss and metabolism. The calorie expenditure itself remains minimal.

What Are More Effective Ways to Burn Calories?

While crying does technically burn some calories, there are far more efficient ways to create a calorie deficit if your goal is losing weight. Here are some more productive options:

Incorporate Exercise and Physical Activity

  • Walking briskly for one hour burns around 200 calories
  • Jogging or running for an hour burns 400-600 calories
  • Swimming laps for an hour burns around 500 calories
  • Cycling at a moderate pace for one hour burns around 300 calories

Adding just 30 minutes of brisk walking daily could burn 400+ more calories than crying for the same time.

Build Muscle Through Strength Training

  • Lifting weights and strength training builds metabolism-boosting muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest.
  • Try 30-45 mins of strength training 2-3 times per week to see metabolism and fat-burning effects. Compound moves like squats, deadlifts, and push-ups are efficient.

Follow a Regular Exercise Routine

  • Consistency is key for long-term weight loss. Follow a structured exercise routine with a mix of cardio and strength training 4-5 days per week.
  • Variety keeps your body challenged. Swap between jogging, hiking, cycling, swimming, dance classes, and more.

Try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

  • HIIT workouts alternate short intense bursts of activity with rest periods. Just 20-30 mins, 2-3 times per week boosts metabolism.
  • Options include sprints, jump rope, battle ropes, rowing, cycling, burpees, and more. The intensity torches calories.

Incorporate Yoga and Pilates

  • Gentler practices like yoga, Pilates, barre, and stretching burn 200-300 calories per hour. They also build core strength and flexibility.
  • Variety is great – try Vinyasa yoga, Hot yoga, Pilates reformer classes, beginner yoga videos on YouTube, etc.

Any of these options stimulate far greater calorie burn than crying. They also enhance cardiovascular fitness, strength, endurance, flexibility, balance, and coordination.

How Else Can You Lose Weight Beyond Just Exercise?

Losing weight and keeping it off requires lifestyle changes and consistency. Here are some key strategies:

Adjust Your Diet with a Calorie Deficit

  • A calorie deficit from your maintenance level is required for weight loss. Use a TDEE calculator to find your maintenance calories, then aim for a 300-500 calorie deficit.
  • Focus your diet on lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats to feel satisfied. Be wary of liquid calories.

Drink More Water

  • Drinking water boosts metabolism and suppresses appetite. Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses daily as a starting point. Add lemon, mint, cucumber, or fruit for flavor.

Prioritize Sleep

  • Poor sleep disrupts hormone balance and metabolism leading to weight gain. Try to get 7-9 hours per night. Maintain a regular bedtime and wake time.

Manage Stress Levels

  • High stress causes elevated cortisol which leads to belly fat storage. Try meditation, yoga, deep breathing, journaling, or talking to a friend to relieve stress.

Consider Prescription Weight Loss Medication

  • If diet and exercise alone seem ineffective, ask your doctor about prescription medications that reduce appetite or boost metabolism

Seek Support For Emotional or Binge Eating

  • Counseling and support groups can help address any emotional issues or binge eating leading to weight gain. Don’t hesitate to get professional help.

Common Questions About Crying and Calories

Can crying a lot help me lose 10 pounds?

No, crying alone in large amounts would likely not lead to losing 10 pounds. The calorie burn from crying is minimal – only about 1.3 calories per minute. Losing 10 pounds requires burning roughly 35,000 calories through substantial diet changes and increased activity over time. Crying can provide emotional release, but not significant weight loss.

Will crying for an entire day burn a high amount of calories?

Crying for an entire day straight is not likely or healthy. However, crying continually for 24 hours would only burn around 1,872 calories. To put that into perspective, a pound of body fat contains approximately 3,500 calories. So even a full day of crying would not burn one pound of fat. More realistically, taking a long walk and eating in a calorie deficit would burn more calories.

Can I cry while working out to burn extra calories?

You could cry during a workout, but the extra calorie burn would be negligible. The crying itself would only burn 1.3 calories per minute. The workout exertion would account for the substantial calorie burn, not the crying. Focus instead on pushing yourself to maximize the workout’s effectiveness through added resistance or reps. Stay hydrated since crying may increase fluid loss.

If I cry for 30 mins every day, will I lose weight?

It’s unlikely crying daily would lead to significant weight loss. While crying for 30 minutes per day would burn around 39 calories, that number alone does not create the 3,500 calorie deficit needed to lose one pound. You could potentially lose a few pounds over the course of a year. But focusing that time instead on meal prepping, activity, or self-care would be much more beneficial for weight loss.

Can crying help me get thinner and reduce belly fat?

Crying is unlikely to lead to major reductions in overall body weight or belly fat. The handful of calories burned from crying pales in comparison to the hundreds of calories burned from exercise, strength training, and HIIT workouts. Following a nutritious diet in a calorie deficit along with metabolism-boosting activity is required to stimulate fat loss rather than only crying.


In conclusion, research shows that crying does technically burn calories – approximately 1.3 calories per minute. So crying for an hour straight would only burn around 78 calories. While crying provides emotional release and health benefits like hormone regulation, the calorie expenditure is negligible. There are far more effective ways to burn calories through varied physical activity, HIIT, strength training, nutrition, and lifestyle changes over the long term. Shedding tears alone will not lead to significant weight loss or thinner bodies. However, it can be one small part of a comprehensive wellness routine when practiced in moderation. The key is balancing self-care and catharsis from crying with proven fitness strategies tailored to your weight goals

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