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Stress: an astonishing calorie-burner!

In today's frenetic world we expend an enormous amount of energy just dealing with stress. One source has even correlated stress-producing activities in the workplace with calorie expenditure.

These stress activities, which can be performed even while sitting at a desk, include the following: Jogging your memory (125); beating around the bush (75); climbing the walls (150); passing the buck (25); throwing your weight around (depending upon weight) (50-300); wading through paperwork (250); sticking your neck out (175); chewing nails (200); making mountains out of molehills (500); dragging your heels (100); pushing your luck (250); climbing the ladder of success (750); and wrapping it up at day's end (13).Many of these activities, of course, can also be performed on the home front.

In addition to the above, it is also possible to assign calorie expenditures to many other daily activities, including the following: Getting out of bed, for many, heads the list as a major calorie-buster. For some, even, getting out of bed is an exercise (which counts even more), as in Jackie Gleason's case.

"Who says I don't do my exercises regularly in the morning?" he demands. "Immediately after awaking I always say sternly to myself, `Ready, now. Up. Down. Up. Down.' And after three strenuous minutes I tell myself, `Okay, boy. Now we'll try the other eyelid."'

Facing the day represents another readily available front-runner opportunity to expend calories, especially if a person is a slow starter and has to use jumper cables. Says Robert W. Wells of this arduous activity: "The trouble with the world is that every day begins with the first half-hour in the morning."

Mondays are particularly good calorie-burning days, especially if people maintain a superb attitude. Modeling such an enviable attitude, Russell Myers says: "One good thing about Monday - it keeps Sunday and Tuesday from slamming together."

Finding excuses for being late is also worth listing. An hour late for work, one woman, in fact, burned up dozens of calories by turning in this creative excuse: "Due to metabolic inability to cope with a recent shift change, I did not respond to external stimuli, thereby remaining in a comatose condition."

Pushing the panic button is another major - and easily created - calorie-burning activity. Once describing his behavior during such activity, Bernard Shaw remarks: "In moments of crisis my nerves act in the most extraordinary way. When disaster seems imminent, my whole being is simultaneously braced to avoid it. I size up the situation in a flash, set my teeth, contract my muscles, take a firm grip of myself and, without a tremor, always do the wrong thing."

Yet another significant calorie burner is dealing with the deluge of paperwork that piles up at home or in the office. Says one woman of the overwhelming, and enormously challenging, nature of this work: "If you leave two pieces of paper together on a desk overnight, they breed."

Maintaining a cheerful (if even just on the outside) attitude also burns up an enormous amount of calories; and the more, and the longer, a person is cheerful, the more calories that person uses. Brief tries, however, don't count, as in the case of a woman who proclaimed, "I always start the day with a smile - and get it over with."

Not folding under stress constitutes yet another major calorie-burner. But folding under stress counts even more. One man tells how, under acute stress, he successfully burned up hundreds of calories: "I've already folded," he muttered through clentched teeth. "Now I'm trying not to spindle or mutilate."

Another calorie-burning category of considerable note - that of "chilling out" - is that the world record for calorie expenditure was recently achieved by a Salt Lake man. Amazingly, this man expended 1,055 calories in a successful bid to keep his cool on a construction-impaired and, actually, nearly obliterated freeway during morning rush-hour traffic. Another Salt Lake man took second place with an expenditure of 975 cool-keeping calories while trying to take a designated alternate route.

Asked to reveal the secret of his success in keeping himself together under such extremely stressful conditions, the first record-setter reported he distracted himself by grimly repeating over and over to himself: "No one ever wins a rat race but a rat."