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Austin Free Week - How Many Calories Can You Burn? 


We are just after the start of Austin Free Week. It runs from Jan 2 to the 11th. To those not in the know, Austin Free Week started with one club in 2003 and has since expanded to include over 20 venues and 300 bands in 10 days. Clearly, with this many venues and artists, its not possible in this blog post to list out all of the places and bands.  
However, what we are going to do in the post is explore the amount of exercise you'll get while checking out the venues and acts.  To get an idea of who’s playing, when and where you can visit Austin360 at Should you choose to accept the challenge, you can get your groove on listening to all manner of different acts while getting your exercise on hoofing it around town via the ol’ heel to toe method.  
Let’s take Friday Jan 10th as an example. While this might be a rather eclectic mix of music and venues, it’ll give you an idea of what can be done during any night of Free Week. You start by getting funky with the Hair Farmers at Speakeasy then head to rock it out with Mobley at The Belmont. After Mobley head on over to The Parish for some David Bowie tribute from Cats From Japan and wrap up at Stubbs with Tinnarose. 
By walking to those 4 venues you’ll have covered 1 mile and probably have seen some very interesting things walking around downtown Austin on a Friday evening. The average person burns 80 to 140 calories per mile when walking. The lighter you are the less you burn and the converse is true in that the heavier you are the more you burn. 
How about dancing? Clearly there are a number of factors to consider such as your size and whether you are in a mosh pit, going old school with the Cabbage Patch or two steppin’. Depending on how energetic your gyrations are, you can burn between 300 and 800 calories per hour when shaking your money maker. 
So let’s do some math. On the high end, if you are taking 15 minute breaks from vigorous dancing over that 4 hour period, you’ve been “moving it” for 3 hours and burned perhaps 2400 calories. Add on another 100 for the 1 mile walk and you’re at 2500 calories for the evening.  More realistically, perhaps you let the music move you for 1 of the 4 hours at a more modest pace. That would be 500 calories dancing with another 100 thrown in for the walk. That’s a very respectable 600 calories burned for the evening.  
Don’t ruin your calorie burn by consuming them all (and more) in the form of high-calorie mixed drinks and/or greasy bar food. If you’re looking to burn calories, its wise to completely avoid the empty calories in alcohol. However, if you are going to have a drink, stay away from the sugary mixers and stick with having straight spirits, a glass of wine or a beer. As for the bar food and ubiquitous slices dripping with grease, do I even have to say anything? 
DrKPMay Jan 5, 2014