Calorie Burning Activity

Calorie Burning Activity

Any time you move your body, you are burning calories. While the body is not a simple thermodynamic machine, calorie theory suggests if you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight. Both cardio activity and weight training can effectively burn calories.

However, many people tend to overestimate the number of calories they burn in exercise, and they compensate by overeating. This is why it is essential to combine calorie-burning activities with a healthy weight loss diet for the best results.

Highest Calorie Burning Exercises

What makes some exercises burn more calories than others? Intensity affects the rate of calories you burn. So does the number and types of muscle groups you engage in. Working larger muscle groups (pectorals, legs, trunk) tends to burn more calories than working smaller muscle groups (biceps, triceps). Likewise, the more muscle groups you engage, the more calories an activity will burn. Therefore:

  • Engaging in high-intensity activity that involves many large muscle groups will burn the most calories.
  • Engaging in low-intensity activity that engages only a few or very small muscle groups will burn the fewest calories.


Running uses your large lower body muscle groups. You can increase the intensity by running on hilly terrain or stairs, or by running more quickly. If a 180-pound person runs at a casual speed for an hour, they can expect to burn around 654 calories, but if they put on the burners going nearly 11 mph, they can burn up to 1471 calories.

Jumping Rope

Jumping rope works your legs and glutes, as well as working muscles of the upper body to a lesser extent. Speed can help vary your workout intensity. A 180-pound person can burn about 654 calories an hour depending on whether the pace is slow, moderate, or fast.

Step Aerobics

Step aerobics provides a great overall body workout if you also engage in upper body movements. A 180-pound person can expect to lose 695 calories after doing this for an hour.

Martial Arts

Martial arts engage all major muscle groups in the body. Likewise, the workout can be varied in intensity, leading to a high rate of calorie burn. Martial arts activities that engage the legs burn more calories than those that are predominately upper body focused. Martial arts can burn 817 calories in an hour for a 180-pound person.


Bicycling engages your legs, glutes, and low back. You also use your trunk muscles for stability. When you bicycle at high intensity by pedaling quickly or riding on hilly terrain, you can burn a significant number of calories. Conversely, if you go for a leisurely bike ride on flat terrain where you coast a lot, you won’t burn very many calories at all.

A 180-pound person can burn anywhere from 490 to 1308 calories in an hour, depending on whether it’s mountain biking or a light, moderate, vigorous, very fast, or racing speed. Keep in mind that riding a stationary bike will burn considerably less – from 245 to 1022 – so if you decide to stay inside with bad weather, increase your speed or length of time.

Rock Climbing

This activity engages all of your major muscle groups. Because you are working with your own body weight, it is also a naturally high-intensity activity when you are ascending. A 180-pound person can burn from 654 to 899 calories an hour.

Cross Country Skiing

Cross country skiing engages most of your body’s large muscle groups. Again, you can vary the intensity with speed or terrain. A 180-pound person can expect to burn from 654 to 1348 calories an hour depending on whether it’s moderate, vigorous, racing, or uphill speeds.