Our body is a wonderful organic machine. Just thinking about how it functions on its own boggles the mind. The body has quite a few automatic ways of getting rid of things that are harmful to it. Sneezing is one such mechanism.
A sneeze is a sudden burst of air ejected through the mouth and the nose. This burst of air is uncontrollable and comes out in such a force that matches the speed of a hurricane. As it takes so much energy to sneeze, naturally the question arises, how many calories does sneezing burn? To be honest, despite generating quite a forceful air burst, it doesn’t burn too many calories when people sneeze.
So can you lose weight by sneezing? Is sneezing well for your health? What causes it in the first place? Let’s find out.
Burning calories by sneezing
When people sneeze, the gust of air that comes out of their nostrils and mouth reaches speeds as high as 100 miles per hour, which is equal to the wind speed of a category 2 hurricane. To produce a gust of wind with this much speed, the lungs have to expend quite a lot of energy, which must mean that sneezing must burn a lot of calories, right? It’s not quite right actually.
Yes, sneezing does burn calories. But the amount is very minuscule. One sneeze only burns 2 to 3 calories, which isn’t very much. So if you are a normal person without any allergies, you’ll sneeze at most 4 times per day, which brings your total calories burnt to only 12 at the very most. So if you are thinking of sneezing as a viable way to burn calories instead of, for example, walking, then you are barking up the wrong tree.
Now, what happens if you are allergic to dust or pollen? People with allergies have different frequencies of sneezing depending on how long they have been exposed to the allergen or how severe their condition is. But let’s assume that an allergic person sneezes about 150 times a day (which is a lot, by the way). So they will burn 300-450 calories by sneezing each day. But trust me, if you are allergic, the last thing that crosses your mind when you are having a sneezing fit is losing weight through it.
So, all in all, although sneezing does burn some calories, it is not significant enough to call it a calorie-burning exercise.
What causes sneezing?
Sneezing happens when your nose or throat’s mucus membranes get irritated due to something entering your nose and throat and getting caught up in them. When this happens, your brain’s sneeze center is triggered as a result of which, your throat, mouth, and eyes are closed shut. Next, your chest muscles forcibly close your throat muscles down and your mouth and nose push out air mixed with saliva and mucus with a huge force.
There are quite a few things that cause sneezing in humans. The main causes of sneezing are:
- Allergy ( If someone is allergic to pollen, dust, mold, etc, they will sneeze in presence of those substances)
- Certain nasal sprays such as corticosteroids
- Common cold
- Withdrawal from drugs
- Spicy food etc.
Is sneezing well for your health?
In ancient times, people thought sneezing was a bad thing. They mistook sneezing for a disease. But the truth couldn’t be farthest away from it. As mentioned earlier, sneezing is a mechanism employed by the body to automatically get rid of unwanted materials from the body.
Whenever something unwanted enters your system through your nostrils or mouth, the body acts fast and vigorously to get rid of them as quickly as possible. This results in sneezing in humans. So, unless you are Vince McMahon, you have no reason to dislike sneezing as it is an indicator that your body is acting perfectly.
Some other ways to burn your calorie that you didn’t expect
Although it isn’t much, sneezing does burn calories in your body. So that begs the question, are there some other ways of burning calories that most people don’t know about? There ARE a few unconventional ways you can burn your calories. They are:
- Being exposed to cold temperature: When your body is exposed to colder temperatures, it speeds up your metabolism which then burns up your brown fat to keep your body warm.
- Drinking cold water: When people drink cold water, their metabolic rate goes up as much as 40%, found to studies.
- Chewing gum: Chewing gum also increases metabolism and helps to reduce weight by burning calories.
- Donating blood: When people donate blood, the body burns a lot of calories to replace the lost protein and other components of blood.
- Fidgeting: Although fidgeting around is seen as a sign of restlessness, it also helps to burn calories when you continuously tap your fingers or bounce your leg.
- Laughing: The fact that laughter is called the best medicine is a testament to how beneficial laughing is. Laughing increases your metabolic rates up to 20% more than what was before.
Some other unusual ways to burn calories are singing in the shower, having intercourse, brushing your teeth, dancing, hugging, etc.
Sneezing is an automatic physiological mechanism to get rid of unwanted pathogens. Yes, the body does expend some energy trying to sneeze, but the amount is not significant enough to be called an exercise. If you want to burn calories, go for something more substantial like walking, swimming or running, or working out.