Sitting quietly, without any other activity such as reading, speaking or writing, burns about 84 calories per hour, based on a body weight of 150 pounds. Watching television, meditating, and listening to music are activities typically included in sitting quietly.
Sitting and Reading
While sitting and reading quietly, an average person burns slightly more calories than while sitting quietly, at a total of about 88 calories per hour. Difficult reading, in which the person must concentrate intensely, will burn a few more calories per hour than simple reading since brain activity actually burns calories.
Sitting and Working on a Computer
Working on a computer while sitting burns about 102 calories per hour, depending on the intensity of the work. If other activity such as shuffling files, filing while sitting, or moving around to answer phones is included, up to 170 calories can be burned per hour.
Sitting and Talking on the Phone
Talking on the phone while sitting burns the same number of calories as working on a computer, with an average of 102 calories per hour burned. Gesturing, raising your voice or getting excited can increase the calories burned to about 120 per hour.
Sitting and Eating
Though it seems funny, calories are burned when you eat. A person sitting and eating burns about 130 calories per hour, or the equivalent of half of a candy bar.