How are "calories burned" calculated for any given activity?
November 7, 2006 9:04 AM   Subscribe

I'd love to know how many calories one burns during sign language interpreting - I think this might interest a lot of interpreters, actually.

I found a very similar Ask thread here but it doesn't quite answer my question.

I'm a sign language interpreter, and when I'm working I am both moving and thinking hard. I have no idea if mental aerobics could burn any calories, but I know I'm moving. I haven't found a single calorie calculator that includes "sign language interpreting - vigorous" or "sign language interpreting - moderate" or anything like that.

Does anyone have suggestions for how I would calculate this? I don't really get how the lists are devised, so I really don't know how to begin.
posted by etoile to Health & Fitness (2 answers total)
Well, I can't speak to the physical exercise component of Interpreting, but I know that as an organ, the brain consumes a significant amount of calories, and that's only increased when you're involved in an intensive cognitive workout. And perhaps more than any other activity I'm familiar with, interpreting counts as intensive.

The recommended break periods for continuous interpeting are for mental exhaustion as much as physical, so I'd wager that the calories burned during interpeting would be significantly increased from the mental component. Nothing concrete, sorry, but a good point to keep in mind.
posted by Eldritch at 9:27 AM on November 7, 2006

If you consider the actions of ASL to be similar to conducting, then you're looking at 170 calories per hour. However, I consider most conducting to be more active than signing (I've done both), so give yourself a little fudge and call it 120-125.
posted by plinth at 9:47 AM on November 7, 2006

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