There’s a lot that goes into developing an exercise regimen: Meeting your body’s needs, finding something you enjoy, and figuring out what will have enough impact to make a difference on your health.
If you’re crunched for time, one of the ways to measure that is to figure out how much energy a particular exercise expends in the time you actually do it. In other words: How many calories does it burn?
The big, important caveats here are that exercising on it’s own actually doesn’t do much to make you lose weight. If you want to slim down, we suggest talking to a doctor about what a healthy weight is for you and working on cutting sugar and large portions out of your diet.
Still, calories burned per hour is a good measure of how intense a particular exercise is. The Mayo Clinic, drawing on research published by the US National Institutes of Health, lists 36 popular forms of exercise by their caloric impacts. We’ve ordered them from least to most intense.
Keep in mind that the numbers here are approximate. Also, just because an exercise burns calories faster doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best option. The most important exercise is the one you enjoy enough to get up and do on a regular basis.
Hatha yoga, a version of the exercise practice centered on holding specific poses, sits at the bottom of this list, burning an average of about 228 calories per hour in a 90kg person.
Next up: going for a stroll. For every hour walked at 3km/h, a 90kg person burns 255 calories.
Next up: canoeing. A leisurely paddle down a river will burn 319 calories in an hour for a 90kg person.
Power yoga, or vinyasa, is a more movement-centered exercise practice than hatha. It burns 364 calories an hour. This article includes more information about the different kinds of yoga and how beginners can get started.
Edging out the first major sport on this list: water aerobics. The pool exercise can burn as much as 501 calories per hour in a 90kg person.
Swim light or moderate laps in a pool, and a 90kg person can burn 528 calories per hour.
Cross country skiing is even more rigorous, burning 619 calories per hour in a 90kg person.
Want to burn even more? Go backpacking. Like ice skating and racquetball, a 90kg person will use about 637 calories per hour on a hike with a heavy backpack.
This non-contact form of American football burns 728 calories an hour.
A moderate 8km/h run will burn about 755 calories per hour in a 90kg person.
Run up a StairMaster (or up a particularly long flight of stairs), and a 90kg person will burn 819 calories per hour.
At the top of the list though are two very simple activities: jumping rope and running fast (12km/h to be precise). Do either of those things for an hour, and a 90kg person will burn 1,074 calories.
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