Which Workouts Are Best for Burning Calories and Losing Weight?
For many people, establishing a consistent fitness routine can feel like a daunting task at the outset. Finding an enjoyable workout is difficult, particularly for those with otherwise sedentary routines, so knowing which ones to try out presents a hurdle in and of itself.
Whether you are trying to get more active or change up your current routine, one question worth considering is this: Which fitness activities burn the most calories? Consistent, moderate workouts offer far more long-term benefits than infrequent intense workouts do, but it is still helpful to consider the range of intensity when establishing goals.
Not surprisingly, there is much debate around this subject since the process of calculating precise numbers is virtually impossible given the myriad variables. An individual’s age, diet, sleep, conditioning, height and weight, greatly impact how many calories he/she will burn.
Last year, Harvard Medical School published a chart with the estimated average number of calories an individual would burn in 30 minutes of a number of different exercises. The table differentiates between three different weight classes (measured in pounds): 125, 155 and 185.
Lifting weights ranged generally from 90 to 126 calories, with figures reaching up to 252 calories for intense workouts among the heaviest weight class. Swimming offered higher numbers overall than weight lifting, ranging between 180 and 250.
Not surprisingly, sports offered impressive caloric burn rates. Basketball, flag football, beach volleyball and hockey all topped out at 336 calories for the heaviest weight class, while soccer and tennis averaged up to 294 for the same group. Meanwhile, martial arts and racquetball ranged between 300 and 420 calories, depending on weight.
Running and cycling vary depending on speed. Jogging at 6 miles per hour (mph) burns between 300 and 420 calories in 30 minutes, whereas a 10 mph pace ranges from 453 to 671. Cycling claimed the peak performance figure on the table, topping out at 693 calories for the heaviest weight class (minimum 20 mph pace). More moderate-paced cycling (16-19 mph) averaged between 360 and 504.
Other factors to keep in mind when determining which workouts to take up might include practical things like affordability and access. For example, swimming might be unrealistic for those without access to a pool. Similarly, playing hockey is likely to prove trickier for those in warmer climates compared to residents in Northern regions where the sport is more popular. Personal injury history, including back and joint pain, are also important to keep in mind.