We all know in order to lose 1 pound we need to burn off 3500 calories, so that means burning 500 calories per day. So what are the best ways to burn those 500 calories? Well it depends on how much time you have and how much effort you want to exert.
The best choice of exercise is going to be one that you want to do, or at least that you will enjoy. There is no point in choosing to run for 30 minutes if you don’t really like running and will put off going or make excuses for not going.
If the thought of doing one activity for 60 minutes is too much to handle then why not split it up. Do one activity for half that amount of time and burn 250 calories and then change activity, or later in the day do a different activity until you have worked of another 250 calories. That way you will have some variety. Although, I think sometimes it is just easier to get it all done in one go but everyone is different so just find what works best for you.
The calories you burn in the activities below are all approximate and based on a woman weighing 135 lbs. The amount of calories you burn will depend on your weight and how much effort you are putting into it. If you are heavier then you will burn more calories, if you are laid back and taking the activity easy you will burn less calories than if you push yourself harder and work at a higher intensity. Remember that everything you do burns calories, mopping the floor, dusting, taking a shower, standing up uses more calories than sitting down etc. Although these activities alone do not burn many calories it all helps so next time you need to do housework or chores think of them as ways to burn calories.
So here you go pick the ones you like and start burning off those calories.
Running 30 minutes at 8mph
The best form of exercise to burn calories is running. You do not need any equipment and it will yield results fast. Although, I would recommend including strength training into your workout as well. Running by itself may help you burn the calories and lose body fat but, you can also start to lose lean muscle mass, which is not what you want. Muscle also burns calories, it is what gives you shape and tone to your body. Losing weight does not help you firm your muscles, create a perky bum or give you shapely legs, that’s done through using weight (body weight, free weights or weight machines). By adding strength training you will keep your muscle mass, help change your body shape and increase your metabolism – which means burning more calories whilst you rest.
Jogging 60 minutes at 5mph
similar to running although at a gentler pace so you need to go for longer to burn the same amount of calories.
High Intensity Interval Training
You can add this to most activities, it means adding in intervals where you work at high intensity. This form of training is proven to increase the amount of calories burned and will also mean you can work out for less time than if you were just working out at a constant pace. For more info read Get Results Faster with High Intensity Training.
Swimming for 60 minutes
I am not talking about gently cruising up and down the pool or swimming in the sea, lake etc, you need to be focused and swim swim swim, bursts of high intensity need to be added to get the most out of your session.
Mowing the lawn for 2 hours
not really an activity that you can do every day, unless you have some crazy grass that grows at a phenomenal rate, but if you want to add some variety to your workouts you can add it in to your routine and get 2 things done at once. If you are looking at your lawn and thinking “no way will it take 2 hours to mow” then add another activity to your day to get to the 500 calories, maybe also other gardening chores such as pruning the bushes, pulling weeds.
Hiking for 2 hours
similar to walking but more energy is usually expended as you should be walking a bit speedier than your average stroll around the park plus you can incorporate a lot more diverse terrain (include hills, mountains, climbing over fences etc). You could join a club or go by yourself. Get out see some areas of natural beauty, make the most of good weather and don’t forget to take plenty of water.
Rock climbing for 60 minutes
take up a new sport and get a full body workout at the same time. Your upper body will get a great work out as well as your legs and you will be burning off those calories.
Tennis for 60 minutes
If you are playing a singles match, if doubles you will need to play for longer. Tennis is a great sport that will burn the calories but also burn through the time. In almost any sports that involve others time appears to whiz by without you realizing it.
A session lasting 50 minutes will be enough. Not interested in martial arts? How about Krav Maga or self defence classes or even boxing.
Horse riding for 2 hours
This is based on general riding, if you are competing or practicing/training for show jumping or cross country etc then you will burn more calories.
High impact step aerobics for 50 minutes, if you choose low impact step aerobics then you will need to workout for 70 minutes. Water aerobics for 2 hours to burn off 500 calories.
Volleyball for 60 minutes
This is based on beach volleyball which burns more calories than your gym based version! Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun. If you don’t enjoy volleyball then why not play Ultimate Frisbee on the beach, the less players the more calories you will burn.
Cycling for 75 minutes
A great way to get to and from work or the shops. Burn calories, get a good full body workout. If it’s been a while since you have ridden a bicycle then prepare to be sore the next day from using muscles you didn’t realize you had. A good seat is also recommended if you plan on cycling regularly and for long distances. Remember to add in intervals of high intensity.
Take a class or dance in your own home, whether you know how to dance or not it can be a fun way to burn calories. The type of dance you do will determine how many calories you burn. 60 minutes of salsa and you will burn approx 290 calories, 60 minutes of ballet or modern dance and you will burn approx 310 calories.
OK you will not burn 500 calories in one session (more like 300 calories) but you can always go for a quick jog or run before or after and hit that 500 goal or even exceed it.
Spinning Class for 45 minutes
These classes will have you burning calories fast although it will depend on your input. No slacking, push hard, increase the resistance and keep going.
Stair Climber for 50 minutes
Hop on the stair climber at the gym or find some stairs to run up and walk down (remember to walk down as you don’t want to lose your balance).
Surfing for 60 minutes
great fun if you have some local beaches that have good waves but if not then maybe try paddle boarding or kayaking which can be done in the sea or on a lake.
Rowing Machine for 45-50 minutes
One of the pieces of equipment I see many people at the gym using incorrectly i.e. rounding their back when they go forward or using their arms to pull before their legs have extended. If you are not sure of the proper technique ask one of the gym instructors to show you (that’s what they are there for). Alternatively if you have a rowing machine at home then find an online demonstration.
Jump rope for 50 minutes
Probably best done by splitting it up as jumping for 51 minutes straight may be a little extreme. So split it up into to smaller chunks and jump during the morning, day, evening or whenever you have spare time maybe whilst you wait for your dinner to cook, during commercial breaks whilst watching your favorite programs…
Fidget and keep moving
i.e. leg bouncing (annoying to some so choose when wisely – maybe not to be done during a meeting or whilst chatting to friends), walking around while you are on the phone. Take the stairs, get of the bus one stop earlier, park further away from the entrance and walk that extra bit. How about going to drop of that report in person rather than putting it in the internal mail. OK this one is not going to burn you those 500 calories by itself but they are easy enough to incorporate throughout your day to help get in some extra calories burnt.
For those of you who are experiencing snow at the moment and need to clear the drive then grab a snow shovel and in 80 minutes you will have burnt off 500 calories…
There are many ways you can burn 500 calories a day, although I have mentioned just a few of them above, this does not mean you have to limit yourself to only these. Start thinking about what you like to do and where outside, inside, alone, with others etc).
It is not all about burning calories though, yes in order to lose weight you want to burn off more than you consume but you also need to look at what you are eating. There are those who say that getting the body you want or losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise (or other similar figures) and it is true, what you eat makes a big difference to your results. Once you start to change your diet and eat healthier you will start noticing a difference not only in your weight but also in your overall health. Now add exercise (a combination of cardio and strength training) and you will see results faster.
One last thing, as you start to lose weight you will need to work harder to burn the same amount of calories.
Is your goal to lose weight? If you are judging your progress by what the scales say this may not be the best indicator of your progress, consider changing your shape by losing body fat not weight.