How Much Am I Actually Burning? - 24Seven Wellness & Living

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If your goal is to burn calories during your workout then you might find the latest research from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota interesting. They ranked 39 common exercises based on information obtained from the US National Institutes of Health.

The chart below is based on scientists calculating the number of calories burned if a typically obese or overweight person did each of the activities for one hour.

Please note the results do not take into account the participant’s age, sex or speed of movement.

So obviously the chart is self-explanatory but the key findings reveal running at a rate of 8mph and skipping burn at least 861, and up to 1,074, calories for every hour of activity.

Yoga appears to be the worst exercise for weight loss, causing a maximum loss of just 228 calories after a 60 minute but obviously most people who do yoga are not primarily there for burning calories.

Slow walking, bowling and ballroom dancing also fail to make people lean, burning a maximum of 255, 273 and 273 calories an hour, respectively.

In the middle of the list, kayaking, weightlifting and light swimming burn between 400 and 500 calories every 60 minutes.

You must obviously be aware that the chart is literally relating each exercise to calories burned, each discipline in its’ own right has many other health benefits beside calories burnt.

Activity (1-hour duration)Weight of person and calories burned
160 pounds (73 kilograms)200 pounds (91 kilograms)240 pounds (109 kilograms)
Aerobics, high impact533664796
Aerobics, low impact365455545
Aerobics, water402501600
Backpacking511637763
Basketball game584728872
Bicycling, < 10 mph, leisure292364436
Bowling219273327
Canoeing256319382
Dancing, ballroom219273327
Elliptical trainer, moderate effort365455545
Football, touch or flag584728872
Golfing, carrying clubs314391469
Hiking438546654
Ice skating511637763
Racquetball511637763
Resistance (weight) training365455545
Rollerblading548683818
Rope jumping8611,0741,286
Rowing, stationary438546654
Running, 5 mph606755905
Running, 8 mph8611,0741,286
Skiing, cross-country496619741
Skiing, downhill314391469
Skiing, water438546654
Softball or baseball365455545
Stair treadmill657819981
Swimming laps, light or moderate423528632
Swimming laps, vigorous7158921,068
Tae kwon do7529371,123
Tai chi219273327
Tennis, singles584728872
Volleyball292364436
Walking, 2 mph204255305
Walking, 3.5 mph314391469
Yoga, hatha183228273
Yoga, power292364436

Adapted from: Ainsworth BE, et al. 2011 compendium of physical activities: A second update of codes and MET values. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2011;43:1575.