A calorie is a unit of energy. One calorie is the amount of energy (heat) required to raise the temperature of one cubic centimeter of water by one degree Celsius. Calories can also refer to the energy required to perform a certain amount of work. One calorie corresponds to the work required to lift a 1-kilogram mass a height of about half a meter (on planet earth).
So will riding scooters burn calories?
Note that a “food” calorie is actually a kilocalorie, a thousand calories. That’s right: a piece of bread containing 100 “food” calories actually contains 100,000 calories and therefore has enough energy in it to raise the temperature of 1000 cubic centimeters (1 liter) of water by 100 degrees Celsius. (Or to lift a 1-kilogram mass to a very large height.)
Your body is an amazing system, with the ability to convert food (fuel) into work (energy) through chemical and biological mechanisms. Like any system for converting fuel to work, your body is not 100 percent efficient. That is, it requires more than one calorie of food to provide enough fuel to your muscles to do one calorie of work. In fact, when engaged in vigorous activities, your body is around 20-33% efficient. Therefore, you must consume 3-5 calories of food for every 1 calorie of actual work you do. (This is good news if you are on a diet and bad news if you are competing in the Tour de France.) By the way, the rest of the energy value of the food is exhausted from your body as heat.
To propel an adult on a Xootr kick scooter at moderate speed requires about 100 watts of continuous power. At this intensity level, a rider would perform 86 kilocalories of work during 60 minutes of activity. (See notes for the arithmetic.) Assuming a fairly efficient kicking stride, the rider could probably operate at around 20 percent efficiency, so would burn 5 x 86 = 430 kilocalories of fuel for each hour of riding.
Exercise on a scooter because it’s worth it!
Don’t be depressed by how little this is (about half a Big Mac); studies indicate that exercise increases your metabolic rate generally resulting in greater caloric consumption throughout the day.
100 watts x 60 minutes x 60 sec/minute = 360,000 watt-seconds = 86 kilocalories
1 watt-second = 1 Joule 1 kilocalorie = 4182 Joules
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