Top 10 Calorie Burning Exercises

calorie burning exercises

There’s always a perfect time to decide to get yourself in shape and there is no better way to succeed than to find an exercise that is both enjoyable and burns a lot of calories.

calorie burning exercises

For some it is a new year’s resolution, for others it’s to create the perfect beach body for their holidays or to fit into their dress for their wedding day. Whatever the reason there is only one way to succeed, hard work! (sorry no quick fix)

Although the notion of exercising to burn calories and lose weight has strong links to dieting and controlled nutrition, the overall concept is separate. Eating healthier will make calorie burning easier but the actual burning of the calories is not dependent on what you eat, your body burns calories regardless.

Without us even being aware our bodies can burn over 1500 calories a day, the addition of exercise can bring this figure up to 1800 or even 2000 calories a day. In order to reap the full benefit of the exercise it is then important to make sure that your calorie intake for that day does not exceed the number of calories you have burned.

Allowing such a thing to happen would cancel out the impact of that day’s exercise meaning you have gained calories rather than burned them. At the same time it is essential not to let your calorie intake drop too low. In theory burning lots of calories and consuming very little may seem like good practice but anything greater than a 500 calorie margin can be dangerous.

Keeping your calorie deficit in the region of 500 calories can be very rewarding for those looking to lose weight. In order to lose 1lb of fat your body needs to burn 3,500 more calories than it consumes. So by using a combination of controlled calorie intake and the correct selection of exercises you could be looking at loosing 1lb a week.

For others who are possibly looking more at weight management and increasing muscle endurance it can be important to replace calories burned during exercise via nutrition. Weight management is difficult to control, after reaching their target weight many who control their calorie intake and exercise regime tend to continue to lose weight, for some this can be dangerous.
To manage this correctly it is important that you continue to exercise as normal but increase your nutritional calorie intake until you find the right balance. Consuming the same amount of calories as you burn via exercise will help maintain a steady weight.

For muscle endurance athletes it is even more important that their calories are replaced, particularly carbohydrates. Although protein is the main nutrient required by the working muscles in order to increase their size, it is essential that you top up your store of carbohydrates after exercise to ensure your body does not burn protein as an alternative fuel source to carbohydrates.
If you are using exercise as a means of increasing muscle endurance and your body is burning protein as a fuel then the rewards are going to be limited.

Calorie burning exercises are very much dependent on intensity and endurance. With exercises such as walking, running, cycling and swimming the amount of calories you can burn in one session depends on the intensity level at which you exercise and how long you exercise for.
If you are exercising using machinery, for example a treadmill or an exercise bike then it is easier to control the intensity at which you are exercising and to keep a log of how long you are exercising for, some machines even give you a low- down of how many calories you have burned.

For some exercises there are other factors that can also have a direct effect on the success of calorie burning but these will be identified individually in the concise list of top calorie burning exercises outlined below.
Despite the list consisting of mainly cardiovascular aerobic exercises it is important not to forget that weight resistance training does also help the body burn calories. However, in terms of exercising for long periods and on a daily basis cardiovascular exercise is much more appropriate.

It would be difficult to sustain an exercise regime with consisted of hourly weight training sessions day after day like you can do with cardiovascular exercises.

Fact: – More than 1 billion pairs of running shoes are sold around the world every year.



running exercise

Running is what everyone thinks of when someone says exercise. Look at the major sports around the globe, football, basketball, American football and rugby; they all involve a large amount of running.
Long distance running (aerobic) is a much better calorie burner than sprinting (anaerobic). Sports such as the four listed above usually involve a mixture of the two, for this matter however we are looking at long distance.

Like all the exercises in this list the amount of calories burned whilst running depends on the intensity (how fast and how far) at which you are running and how long you are running for. Half an hour is a good benchmark to use when calculating how long you should be exercising for, this can be applied to all exercises in this list.

The number of calories burned from half an hour’s running ranges from 275 for light running and 566 for vigorous running. Cross- country running can burn up to 300 calories and light jogging over 200 calories. All in all running is a great calorie burning exercise.

Fact: – Cycling burns up over 600 calories an hour


Cycling exercise

They say everyone should be able to ride a bike and once you learn how to you will never forget. This saying carries even more significance when referring to an exercise bike. Although traditional bicycles are excellent for exercise, they are a great form of transport, allow you to take in a range of scenery and help keep you fit; exercise bikes however are far more convenient.

Modern day exercise bikes come complete with a range of modes and functions including a calorie counter and an intensity calculator. Using the intensity calculator to select a high intensity will make using the machine similar to riding up hill on a normal bicycle.

Selecting a high intensity setting and exercising for half an hour could see you burn up to 360 calories in one session. Using the bike on a less intense session could see around 240 calories burned.

Although a great exercise to center the whole of your session around, cycling is also an ideal warm up activity for any workout regime. For example a 15 minute moderate cycling warm up alone could see 120 calories burned before the core of the session was even under way.

Pro Mountain Bike Riding Video

Fact: – Step aerobics was only innovated in 1989 by Gin Miller after a personal injury

Step Aerobics

Body weight exercises

Step aerobics targets the lower body, focusing heavily on the legs. The major muscles this exercise aims to work include the quadriceps and the gluteus maximus. Step aerobics is an exercise usually associated with women but in reality it can be enjoyed by men as well, after all it is a great calorie burner.

The intensity of this activity is very much dependant on the height of the step being used. For those who are unaware, step aerobics is an exercise which involves stepping up on to a raised platform and then back down onto the floor again. It is usually performed to music with a set routine being followed.

As an exercise step aerobics can burn between 240 and 340 calories at a time. The lower figure is obviously for low intensity (small step) exercise and the larger figure for high intensity (high step) exercise. Step aerobics can be performed alone or as a group.

Most gyms have a weekly step aerobics class, however exercise DVDs and home step sets are also available for those who wish to exercise at home. Either way step aerobics is a fantastic calorie burning exercise for both men and women.

Fact: – From 1920 until 1956, the USA Olympic team won the gold medal in the men’s eight at every games



Rowing is an exercise which is much easier on a rowing machine and much easier to control as opposed to on the water. When rowing on water you have to concentrate on balance and direction, these factors are taken away when on a rowing machine and allow you to concentrate fully on performance.

We have all been inspired by the likes of Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent after their rowing heroics at various Olympic Games but using a rowing machine makes it easier than they make it look. A modern day rowing machine allows you to track how fast you are rowing, how far you have rowed and some of the advanced ones even tell you how many calories you have burned.

Rowing, like running, is very much dependant on intensity. Unlike running, rowing intensity is about power as well as speed. Rowing machines allow you to select your resistance level, the higher the level of resistance the more strength it takes to row.

Speed and power are very important factors when rowing and are very much dependant on each other. Rowing fast increases the intensity of the exercise and obviously the speed you are rowing at but in order to row fast you need to compete with the resistance and row as powerfully as possible.

The number of calories burned from half an hour’s rowing ranges from 240 for a moderate intensity workout to 300 for a vigorous session.

Fact: – Rock climbing was invented in the late 19th century either in England or Italy

Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is an activity which falls in the ‘outdoor pursuits’ category, the first of its type in this list. Similar to rowing and cycling, there are two types of rock climbing. Traditional rock climbing is performed outdoors, on actual rocks.

This activity involves a lot that just climbing, there are several safety elements to consider. Indoor rock climbing on a climbing wall however is both safer and easier to organise. The popularity of rock climbing has risen dramatically over the last decade and this has coincided with the surge in indoor climbing centres. These centres supply all the relevant safety equipment and even provide an instructor.

Regardless of whether you are exercising indoors or outdoors, rock climbing is a great way to keep fit, burning lots of calories in the process. Its mixture of cardiovascular exercise and muscle endurance exercise makes rock climbing one of the toughest exercises around. Thirty minutes rock climbing can burn over 300 calories, this is very much dependant on weight, age and sex however.

Extreme Rock-climbing 

Fact: – Circuit training burns 0.084 Calories per minute per pound of body weight

Circuit Training

Circuit training workout

Circuit training is one of those activities that you either love or you hate. It consists of a series of intense exercises performed one after the other. Professional boot camps usually use the concept of circuit training in there regimes.

However anyone can set up their own circuit training session, you can even improvise and set up a circuit at home. The exercises selected for circuit training usually focus heavily on muscle endurance, however the intensity of these exercises and the running from station to station helps improve cardiovascular performance also. Typically each individual spends around five minutes at each station, running between each after the five minutes of exercise.

Circuit training is a great calorie burner and is because of its mix of activities. It does not concentrate on just cardiovascular activity or muscle endurance; it combines the two to create an all round calorie burning exercise. Half and hour’s circuit training can burn in the region of 275 calories.

This is obviously dependant on the type of activities included in the circuit and the amount of time spent at each station. To increase the amount of calories burned whilst part taking in circuit training, why no look to exercise for an hour?

Fact: – Swimming dates back to the 1st century



Like cycling, swimming is one of those activities that everyone should be able to take part in, the reality is however some people can’t swim, for one reason or another. In contrast to the rest of the exercises already outlined in this list, swimming takes a little more planning and access to specialist facilities.

Some gyms have swimming pools and these can be accessed as easily as rowing machines and exercise bikes, however some do not and it is here where access becomes an issue. Local swimming pools are now few and far between with many charging inflated prices for access to their pools. It is here where swimming becomes a chore in contrast to using an exercise bike at the gym or a step aerobics set at home.

Despite its accessibility issues swimming is one of the best activities to take part in if you are looking to burn calories. Half an hour’s constant swimming can burn just over 200 calories.

Those who part take in a lot of swimming will know that half and hour’s swimming is not a great deal, so you could easily double the length of the session to an hour and consequently double the amount of calories burned to over 400.

Aim To Be This Good At Swimming

Fact: – Squash was invented by a school in 1830


Squash Fitness

Squash is one of the most physically demanding sports out there. The intensity of this sport makes it one of the biggest calorie burning activities around. The precise calorie burning figures for this activity are hard to calculate due to the nature of the sport, you can never play two matches the same.

The combination of running, stretching, hitting the ball and sprinting short distances means squash has all the ingredients, putting your body through the ultimate test.

It is very hard going on your body’s muscles, particularly those in the arms and the legs and is also a great activity for improving cardiovascular activity, solely because of the movement involved in the sport and the duration of the activity itself.

Fact: – A standard pair of running shoes will last 400 to 500 miles of walking



For the majority walking is the main exercise of their day to day routine. It is simple and performed over a period of time at a high intensity can be a great calorie burner. For best calorie burning results it is suggested that you set aside a period of the day for a walk outside in the fresh air, rather than classing walking up and down the stairs and around the house as your daily walking session.

In addition to walking outdoors and making use of parks and walking routes which you may have in your area you could also use gym equipment such as treadmills to complete your daily walking session.

High intensity walking has been known to burn in the region of 170 calories over a thirty minute period, low intensity walking is also effective, burning over 130 calories. Remember you could combine walking with one of the other activities in this list in order to develop your 500 calorie daily deficit.

For example you could choose to walk to the gym where you then take part in another activity in this list such as squash and then walk home again. Combining activities not only increases the number of calories burned but also targets a variety of muscle groups in the process.

Fact: – Water aerobics dates back to the Roman age

Water Aerobics

water aerobics

Water Aerobics

Number ten in this list but by no means a worthless calorie burning activity. Water aerobics is very similar to step aerobics except the muscles are working against the buoyancy of the water as well as gravity. Water aerobics is another activity which is usually connected with females but is generally open to both sexes.

Some gyms which have swimming pools advertise water aerobics classes and these are very popular. For those looking for a high intensity work out, water aerobics classes can be used as a warm- up activity to a traditional swimming session, this would be a great way to increase the number of calories you burn in one session and to utilise your access to a local swimming pool.

A standard thirty minute water aerobics session can burn in the region of 170 calories. This figure is very small in comparison to other activities such as running and cycling but as stated above water aerobics is great when combined with another activity, especially if you are pushed for time.

Every Day Calorie Burning Tips

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Have a good night’s sleep – gaining between seven and nine hours of sleep a night can help maintain a fast metabolic rate. Sleeping for four hours or less can slow this rate down meaning your body will take longer to absorb glucose from your food after consumption.

Do lots of housework – it is a fact that activities which involve the movement of your hands use a lot of energy. Basic housework such as dusting, using the vacuum cleaner, washing the dishes and hanging the washing out are great examples. Remember- the more house work you do, the cleaner your house will be and the more calories you will burn.

Do your day to day activities at a fast pace – from walking the kids to school to going upstairs to use the bathroom, move quickly. Moving quickly on a daily basis will help with calorie burning, plus it is easy!

Don’t skip breakfast  as everyone seems to say these days ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the deal’, for calorie burners this couldn’t be truer. If you skip breakfast then your body isn’t triggered into burning calories, it thinks you need them to function for the rest of the day.

Avoid eating late at night – linked to two of the above, late night snacking can cause you to wake up in the night, promoting sleep loss, after all we do gain our energy from food. A late night feast can also encourage you to skip breakfast; if you aren’t hungry on a morning then you’re less likely to eat.

Laugh more – everyone loves laughing but who would have known that laughing for around 15 minutes a day can burn up to 50 calories. Hang out with your friends and have a laugh or watch your favourite comedy show, it is all in the name of fun!

Drink more water – the more hydrated you are the less likely it is that your body’s metabolic rate will decrease. A high metabolic rate is ideal for calorie burning. We are advised to drink around two litres of water every day.

Eat on the go – eating lunch whilst walking or talking a short walk after lunch is a very efficient way of burning calories. Depending on how fast you walk and what you eat you may be burning calories as fast as you consume them. Eating whilst in the car does not count towards this.

Carry chewing gum – the action of chewing gum is a small but simple bodily function and best of all it burn calories. If nothing else it helps prevent you from eating the foods you shouldn’t.


Workout Equipment and Clothing

The equipment needed for cardiovascular exercise depends very much on the type of exercise you have chosen to part take in. It is easy to get carried away purchasing expensive equipment that you may only use once before it gets dumped in the garage.

The simplest pieces of equipment are usually the most necessary and quite often can be used for a whole range of activities, many of which are included in the list above.

If you are looking to exercise over a very long period of time i.e. five to ten years, then it may be advisable to purchase some gym equipment, in the long run this will be cheaper than a gym membership.

However, this equipment is very expensive and you should be very careful when looking to buy such equipment. It may be wise to try out equipment in a gym first to find out which gives you the best results and which you enjoy more. Purchasing equipment is not essential however; some of the top calorie burning activities require a limited amount of equipment.

Correct clothing is essential to all forms of activity and will is probably more important than exercising equipment. Although clothing can have little impact on performance it can help with comfort. Exercising in the correct, comfortable attire is far more practical and much more rewarding.

Correct clothing doesn’t mean expensive high performance clothing, a lot of high street sports retailers stock standard sports equipment and clothing as well as the elite performance equivalents.

Most sports clothing is appropriate to all of the activities included in the list and in most circumstances the selection of such attire is common sense. For example, a pair of soft trainers would be advantageous for running, walking, cycling, squash, circuit training and step aerobics.

For individuals looking to perform a range of activities from the list these could be a good buy. Similarly, a pair of basic swimming trunks or shorts would be handy for swimming and water aerobics.

Exercising in the wrong type of kit is not recommended; it will be uncomfortable, could cause injury and will more than likely encourage you to never perform that exercise again.

So remember, be sensible when looking at buying equipment, make sure you have the correct and comfortable attire for your selected activity and do not go mad when purchasing this clothing, the cheap brands are just as good as the expensive ones.

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