Which activities burn the most calories? If you are a Fitbit advocate like me, you're probably going to be looking for activities that burn more calories. The Fitbit is a great way to get you to be more active, because the more calories you burn, the more you can eat. And hello, this is the Cheeseslave blog. I love to eat.
Which Activities Burn the Most Calories?
The following list is calories burned PER HOUR of activity.
Note: These numbers are based on my weight. Calories burned per hour depends on your weight. To find your total calories burned per hour, use your Fitbit dashboard under Activities.
Kettlebell – 1,200 Calories
Running, Slow – 1,000 Calories
Roller Blading (In-Line Skating) – 695 Calories
CrossFit – 600 Calories
Swimming Laps, Freestyle, Fast, Vigorous Effort – 556 Cals
Tennis, Singles – 445 Calories
Calisthenics (Pushups, Situps, Pullups, Jumping Jacks) – 445 Calories
Rock or Mountain Climbing – 445 Calories
Yoga, Vinyasa – 406 Calories
Skiing, Cross Country – 389 Calories
Skating, Roller – 389 Calories
Hiking, with a 9-Pound Pack – 389 Calories
Gardening with Heavy Power Tools, Tilling A Garden, Chain Saw – 334 Calories
Weight Lifting (Power Lifting or Body Building, Vigorous Effort) – 334 Cals
Yoga, Bikram – 328 Calories
Skating, Ice, 9 Mph or Less – 306 Calories
Walking, Less Than 2 MPH – 278 Calories
Skiing, Downhill – 278 Calories
Snorkeling – 278 Calories
Golf, General – 250 Calories
Basketball, Shooting Baskets – 250 Calories
Yoga, Ashtanga – 239 Calories
Bicycling, Slow – 223 Calories
Gardening, General – 223 Calories
Swimming, Slow – 223 Calories
Pilates, Beginner – 173 Calories
Weight Lifting (Light Workout) – 167 Calories
Ballroom, Slow (E.G. Waltz, Foxtrot, Slow Dancing) – 167 Calories
Child Care (Standing – Dressing, Bathing, Grooming, Feeding, Occasional Lifting Of Child-Light Effort) – 167 Calories
Surfing, Body or Board – 167 Calories
Canoeing or Rowing – 167 Calories
Cleaning, House, General – 167 cals
Wii Fit Super Hula Hoop – 139 Calories
Child Care (Sitting/Kneeling – Dressing, Bathing, Grooming, Feeding, Occasional Lifting Of Child-Light) – 139 Calories
Cooking or Food Preparation – 139 Calories
Wii Golf – 128 Calories
Sitting – Writing, Desk Work, Typing – 100 Calories
Standing – Talking or Talking on the Phone – 100 Calories
What I Learned About Which Activities Burn the Most Calories
I was really surprised by some of the things in this list. Here are some of the things I found:
Kettlebell is the Clear Winner
I've said this on the blog before, but kettlebell is the number one exercise you can do. Kettlebell burns the most calories in the shortest amount of time. It actually burns more calories than running. Not only that, but it combines cardio with weightlifting. Bottom line: you get the most bang for your time invested.
Gardening is Just As Good as Biking or Swimming
Gardening (general, light to medium effort) burns as many calories as bicycling (slow), or swimming slow laps, and it actually burns more than light weight lifting. If you're doing heavy gardening, like tilling and digging, it is better in terms of calorie burn than Bikram yoga. (Of course there are other reasons to do yoga, for body shaping and building muscle, and increasing flexibility.)
This was shocking to me! And very exciting! I'd much rather work on my garden all weekend than spend hours in the gym. Plus, you get the benefit of soaking up a lot of vitamin D and breathing fresh air.
If you enjoy gardening as much as I do, it's a great way to burn calories.
Standing or Sitting? Doesn't Matter
I've heard some people say they got a standing desk because it's cheaper than a treadmill desk. But it turns out that standing really doesn't burn any more calories. The treadmill desk really is worth it in my opinion, because I'm able to burn almost 3 times as many calories while I am working as if I were sitting (or standing). Working for 3 hours at my treadmill desk burns over 800 calories — more than an hour of crossfit or rollerblading.
Childcare? Cooking? Housework? Nope!
I always hear moms say they get their workout from chasing after their kids. Not according to this list. You barely burn more calories than sitting. Same goes for cooking. And yep, housework.
Guess that gets me off the hook! Better to hire a housekeeper and go rollerblading!
Wii Games? Not So Much
Wii games don't really burn a lot of calories. Then again, neither does surfing. But I'd rather take up surfing than play computer games any day! (Another benefit of surfing is you soak up a LOT of magnesium in the ocean.)
Rollerblading Beats Rollerskating and Biking
Rollerblading, rollerskating and ice skating are pretty good ways to exercise. You burn anywhere from 3-7 times more calories than if you were sitting.
I'm not sure why rollerblading burns so many more calories than rollerskating (almost twice as much). Rollerblading also burns 3 times more calories than biking slow. I'm ready to go get a pair of rollerblades and head over to Venice Beach. Again, sunshine and fresh air. And it's a great family activity.
Golf or Basketball?
Golf burns as many calories as shooting baskets. Amazing, right? Personally, if I had to choose between the two. I'd much rather take up golf. Why? Because golfing is something you can do while you network. Not so easy to network getting all sweaty on a basketball court.
I'm a very social person, so if I can socialize and get exercise at the same time, that's a great way to go. And again, fresh air and sunshine. Plus, you get to wear those cute golf skirts and tops.
Who knew I would make a list like this and end up wanting to take golf lessons?
How To Choose Calorie-Burning Activities That You Enjoy
When trying to decide on activities that burn the most calories, there are a couple of things to remember when choosing things to do to get more active…
Keep in mind, it's very important to look for activities that you enjoy. Exercise is a very personal thing. Don't just do something because it burns a lot of calories, because then you won't enjoy doing it and you'll avoid it. And the more you enjoy something, the more you will do it.
I personally like working out with a kettlebell not only because I can do it at home in my bedroom (no need to drive to the gym) but also because I can watch a TV or listen to a podcast while I work out. I'm not the type to enjoy going to exercise classes. I get bored listening to a yoga instructor. That said, I do enjoy swimming laps because it's so quiet and it gives me a chance to think.
Look For Calorie-Burning Activities That You Can Incorporate Into Your Lifestyle
If you can find things to do that you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle, it's a lot more likely that you will do them.
For example, perhaps you can ride your bike to work. If work's too far and you need to drive, perhaps you could just keep a bike at work and ride it to a restaurant or a park for lunch. Or bring a pair of rollerblades and do some blading at the park during your lunch hour.
If you work in an office building with an elevator, take the stairs instead.
When planning a vacation, think of things you can do to keep your activity level up: walking, hiking, skiing, snorkeling, biking or rowing.
It's Not Just About the Calories
It's also important to remember that it's not all about the calories. There are many other health benefits to exercise besides just burning calories. There are other factors to consider, like the importance of strength training and building muscle, increasing flexibility, and doing cardio.
How to Track Your Calories Burned
I highly recommend using a FitBit to track your steps and your heart rate. My Fitbit has been critical to not only track my exercise, but more importantly, it motivates me to exercise in the first place.
It's so easy to track calories with a Fitbit. Just enter your exercise in the dashboard. You can also keep track of how many calories you eat — so it's easy to create a calorie deficit if you need to lose a few pounds. The Fitbit is my number one tool for staying in shape and keeping the pounds off.
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What Are Your Favorite Calorie-Burning Activities?
What are your favorite things to do to burn calories? Please share your comments below.
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