The 20 best ways to burn calories in one hour
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Want to know which workouts burn the most calories? Boy, do we have an article for you!
A study showing how many calories different types of exercise burn has been put together by researchers at the National Institutes of Health – with some surprising results. Swimming, taekwondo, running and aerobics all make the list, but do you know which one comes out on top?
We've ordered the top 20 from least to most intense. In each case the approximate calories burned per hour are for a 200lb (14.3 stone) person (so exact calorie count will vary depending on body size, gender, age and other factors). Barbara Ainsworth, lead author of the Compendium of Physical Activities study, says the activities that come out on top are those that “increase your rate of breathing, move your arms and legs in a rhythmic motion, and cause you to break a sweat.”
20. Water aerobics
Also known as ‘waterobics’ and ‘aquafit’, this is more than just splashing about in the pool. The water provides extra resistance – meaning you burn about 501 calories per hour.
19. Light or moderate lap swimming
Fancy expending around 528 calories per hour? Swimming light laps in a pool will do the trick.
Lace up your walking boots, because you could work off around 546 calories per hour on a 60-minute hike. Choose a route with plenty of steep sections for maximum results.
17. Water skiing
Getting pulled along by a speedboat is not as easy as it looks – and is a great lower and upper body workout that also works your core. Do it for an hour, and you could use up as many as 546 calories.
16. Rowing on a machine
Not a big fan of water? You’ll burn the same amount of calories (546 per hour) by rowing on a machine. All on the comfort of dry land.
Forget downhill skiing, if you really want to burn the calories then you should stick to flat terrain. Cross-country skiing will make you work up a sweat – and burns up to 619 calories per hour.
Hiking with a heavy backpack on can burn as much as 637 calories per hour – so chuck in a few extra items into your pack on your next walk.
13. Ice skating
British champs Torvill and Dean were on to something… Tearing up the ice on your skates also burns around 637 calories per hour.
Similar to squash, this is played with a hollow ball in a court with high walls – and works up a good sweat. An hour burns up to 637 calories.
11. High-impact aerobics
Dust off your leotards! Designed to get your feet tapping and heart pumping, high-impact aerobics can use 664 calories per hour.
Rollerblading may not be as popular as it was in its heyday – the nineties – but it’s still a great form of cardio and a good alternative to biking and skateboarding. As well as increasing endurance and coordination, it’ll burn 683 calories per hour.
Dribbling, bouncing, passing, slam dunking… Playing a game of basketball is tiring work. And it will see you burn 728 calories per hour.
You’ll also burn around 728 calories by playing singles tennis for an hour.
7. Flag Football
Similar to tag rugby, this form of American football sees players ‘tackle’ an opponent by removing a tag from the ball carrier. Expect to lose 728 calories per hour.
6. Running (5mph)
Is running your sport? If your pace is 5mph, you could be burning around 755 calories every hour.
5. Running up the stairs
Reckon you could run up a particularly long flight of stairs (or a step machine) for an hour? If yes, then you would be burning around 819 calories per hour.
4. Vigorous swimming
An even better workout is ‘vigorous’ swimming, burning some 892 calories per hour.
The most intense competitive sport on this list in taekwondo, which will see you kicking, blocking and striking while sparring with an opponent. The martial art burns around 937 calories in a 60-minute session.
Making the top of the list (in joint first position), skipping will see you churn through around 1,074 calories per hour.
1. Running (8mph)
Finally, running at a pace of 8mph will also burn 1,074 calories per hour. Now you know, it's time to go, burn, sweat, and thrive!