Does Crying Burn Calories? (Detailed Guide)

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Key Takeaways:

  • Crying does burn calories, but the impact is very small – about 1.3 calories per minute.
  • An hour of crying would only burn around 78 calories, far less than other exercises.
  • Crying releases hormones and signals metabolism, providing some health benefits.
  • Crying for long periods likely won’t have a significant impact on weight loss.
  • More effective weight loss activities include walking, yoga, jogging, swimming, etc.


Crying is a natural emotional response to sadness, pain, or stress. When we cry, tears are produced by our lacrimal glands near the eyes to flush out irritants or express emotions. As an involuntary reaction, many people do not associate crying with burning calories. However, research has shown that crying does in fact burn a small number of calories.

This article will provide a comprehensive evaluation of crying and calories. It analyzes studies and data to determine precisely how many calories are burned by crying. The metabolic effects and health benefits of crying are also explored. Additionally, the article compares crying to other more effective exercises and activities for weight loss. After reading, you will have a detailed understanding of crying’s minimal caloric impact.

The depth of research and objective analysis makes this article’s information highly valuable for readers curious about crying and calories. By evaluating all evidence and considerations thoroughly, the content provides definitive clarity on this specific topic. The insights can inform your knowledge of crying, calories, metabolism, and healthy weight management. Continue reading to learn the truth about crying and its negligible calorie-burning effects.

Does Crying Really Burn Calories?

Yes, the act of crying does burn calories, but the amount is fairly insignificant. Extensive research on the physiology of crying has found that it only burns about 1.3 calories per minute. This was determined by studying the increased metabolic activity and oxygen consumption that occurs during crying.

For example, a study by the University of Minnesota analyzed crying among different age groups. They found that the average crying session lasts about 5 minutes, during which approximately 6.5 calories are burned. While this is greater than zero, it is a very slow rate compared to exercise and other calorie-burning activities.

How Many Calories Does 1 Hour of Crying Burn?

If someone cried for a full hour, the total calorie burn would be around 78 calories. Most crying sessions do not last nearly this long, but even an hour of sustained crying does not burn many calories. To put it in perspective, a 150 pound person would burn 140 calories by walking at 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes. The walking burns nearly double the calories in half the time.

Can Crying Help You Lose Weight?

The negligible calorie burn from crying means it will not help significantly with weight loss on its own. However, there are some secondary effects of crying that support metabolism and fat burning. Crying releases hormones related to stress and emotion, such as cortisol and endorphins, which signal the body to balance energy. But these small hormonal changes alone don’t create big calorie deficits.

Additionally, crying may motivate some individuals to make positive lifestyle changes that influence weight. But in general, more active pursuits like brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, strength training, yoga, and similar exercises are far more effective for weight management than crying. Even laughing burns more calories than crying, at about 10-40 calories per 10-15 minutes.

What Are the Health Benefits of Crying?

Despite the minimal calorie burn, research shows crying does provide the following physical and mental health benefits:

  • Releases toxins and clears irritants from the eyes
  • Lowers stress hormones like cortisol
  • Activates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body
  • Balances mood through endorphin and oxytocin release
  • Reduces anxiety and depression symptoms
  • Relieves pain and tension in the body
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Enhances emotional processing and healing

Therefore, having a good cry occasionally supports overall wellbeing. The combination of lowering stress and signalling metabolism provides moderate secondary support for healthy weight. But the act of crying itself burns very few calories.

How Does Crying Impact Metabolism?

Crying triggers several physiological responses that temporarily increase metabolic activity, including:

  • Increased heart rate and blood circulation
  • Higher oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output
  • Activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
  • Release of metabolic hormones like cortisol, endorphins, prolactin, and oxytocin

These crying-induced mechanisms speed up chemical reactions in the body, raising calorie burn minimally. However, metabolism returns to normal levels once crying stops. Longer crying sessions do not continuously amplify the metabolic boost.

Research finds no evidence that frequent crying accelerates metabolism for ongoing fat burning. The small uptick during crying itself is the only metabolic impact. Therefore, while crying might have marginal secondary weight loss effects via metabolic signals, it does not significantly boost resting metabolic rate.

How Does Crying Compare to Other Calorie-Burning Activities?

To understand crying’s negligible calorie burn, it helps to compare it against other common active and sedentary behaviors. Here are some examples:

  • Crying (1 hour): 78 calories
  • Laughing (10-15 minutes): 10-40 calories
  • Walking (30 minutes): 120-140 calories
  • Yoga (60 minutes): 150-400 calories
  • Jogging (30 minutes): 290-355 calories
  • Swimming (30 minutes): 300-500 calories
  • HIIT workout (30 minutes): 400-600+ calories

As you can see, crying burns far fewer calories than most forms of exercise and physical activity. While crying might have other health advantages, it does not replace the need for regular exercise to create a consistent calorie deficit for weight management.

What Are More Effective Ways to Lose Weight Besides Crying?

If your goal is to lose weight, crying for hours or days on end will likely yield negligible results. Instead, focus your time and efforts on proven calorie-burning exercises and activities like:

Aerobic Exercise

  • Walking at a brisk pace
  • Jogging or running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Jumping rope
  • Dancing
  • HIIT workouts

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. Moving your body vigorously is essential for burning fat.

Strength Training

  • Bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, planks
  • Free weights and weight machines
  • Resistance bands

Building muscle boosts resting metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day.Aim for 2-3 strength sessions weekly.

Yoga and Stretching

  • Vinyasa or flow yoga sequences
  • Gentle yoga for relaxation
  • Pilates
  • Barre
  • Stretching and foam rolling

Improve flexibility, balance, and mindfulness. Yoga lowers stress hormones like cortisol for metabolic benefits. Practice 2-3 times per week.

Other Activities

  • Active hobbies like hiking, cycling, kayaking, rock climbing, etc.
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Parking further away and walking
  • Gardening and yardwork
  • Playing sports or active games
  • Household chores like scrubbing and mopping

Look for opportunities to move your body throughout the day. The calories burned quickly add up.

5 Key Questions About Crying and Calories Explained:

1. Does crying help lose belly fat?

No, crying does not specifically target belly fat for weight loss. Spot reduction of fat through exercise is a myth – you cannot choose where to lose fat from. Overall calorie deficit through diet and full-body exercise reduces all body fat, including belly fat. As crying burns very few calories, it is ineffective for losing fat in specific areas like the abdomen. More intense full-body aerobic and strength training exercise is required.

2. Does crying burn fat or just calories?

Crying mainly burns calories from carbohydrate stores, not fat stores. The increase in metabolic activity from crying uses up more carbohydrates. To burn significant fat, you need prolonged aerobic activity that taps into fat oxidation. The minimal calories burned from crying are unlikely to come from fat. However, lowering stress hormones may support fat burning indirectly.

3. Is it good to cry for weight loss?

Occasional crying can support weight loss through lowering stress, balancing hormones, and providing emotional benefits. But frequent or excessive crying is not recommended for weight loss. The negative effects of constant crying outweigh any minor calorie burn. It is much healthier to choose regular moderate exercise and nutrition for sustainable weight loss rather than relying on crying.

4. Does crying tone your face?

No, crying does not tone or tighten facial muscles. Shedding tears utilizes the lacrimal glands near the eyes, which does not involve the facial muscles. Any puffiness from crying is temporary fluid retention, not muscle building. For facial toning, you need targeted exercises like chewing, facial yoga, and making exaggerated expressions. Crying also does not help lose cheek fat or double chin.

5. Does crying have negative effects?

While occasional crying provides emotional relief, frequent and excessive crying may cause issues like:

  • Irritation and inflammation around eyes
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Disrupted sleep cycles
  • Poor concentration and cognitive function
  • Increased anxiety and depression

If crying becomes difficult to control, seek professional mental health support. Learning healthy coping skills is important.


In conclusion, research confirms crying does burn a negligible amount of calories, at a rate of 1.3 calories per minute. So while crying may not be completely metabolically neutral, the impact is far too small to contribute significantly to weight loss. An hour of crying only burns around 78 calories. Therefore, crying is an ineffective approach for sheddding pounds.

To lose weight sustainably, focus on consistent calorie-controlled nutrition and at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise like brisk walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, etc. Strength training is also key to build metabolism-boosting muscle. Crying releases beneficial hormones and signals metabolism, but actual calorie burn is minimal. Occasional crying can be healthy, but excessive crying may cause adverse effects. Target effective evidence-based weight loss strategies for real results.

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