14 Exercises That Burn More Calories Than Running
14 Exercises That Burn More Calories Than Running

Hate running?

Sure you do.

Look, running is pretty awesome for exercise. Just like with weights, not only do you physically benefit, but you gain mental strength too.

If you've seen any other articles touting exactly how many calories you will burn doing this exercise, they are wrong. There are many things that affect how many calories you burn.

Related - How to Run Your First Mile (Without Stopping)

This includes your conditioning level, how much lean muscle mass you have, and how overweight you are. If you hit the treadmill daily and hate it, try some of these exercises out that can burn more calories than running.

So what affects how many calories you burn?

The actual number of calories that you can burn during a specific exercise will depend on a few different things. How much you weigh, your body fat percentage, your age, physical fitness level, genetics, and even the environment (temperature, humidity, oxygen levels) all play a role in the amount of calories you burn.

Since it's hard to tell exactly how many calories someone burns, we can use a MET, or metabolic equivalent.

MET is based on how many milliliters of oxygen a person consumes per kilogram of bodyweight while doing a specific activity. One MET is about equal to the amount of energy it takes to sit still. So, when you're binging on Netflix.

The more intense an exercise is, the higher the MET. Heck, the harder and faster you wash dishes increases the MET level.

When the MET goes up, the calories burned also go up. So, when you exercise at a higher intensity, this will increase the amount of calories you'll burn after you stop working out. This is called the afterburn effect.


Rock Climbing


Burn More Calories Than Running

If running really isn't your thing, try some of these exercises out. Remember, movement is life, so why not pick up a new sport or hobby on top of these exercises?

Spice up your life and enjoy the body that you are creating.

The MET of running depends on speed and body weight, but on average the MET is between 3.2 and 5.8 for reference.

#1 - Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are great for your core and overall body development. With a little practice, you can do some pretty cool tricks.

These puppies have a MET of 8. Grab a kettlebell and get to work.

#2 - Burpees

Burpees are the devil's spawn, but they have a MET of 8.

I think I'd rather run than do burpees, but try them out and see what you think.

#3 - Jumping Rope

A big surprise to me, jumping rope has a MET score of 12.3.

Jumping rope can be hard to get the timing down, but there's no doubt that this exercise is a keeper. Buy yourself a good jump rope and get to jumping. Doing tricks and increasing the speed can up the challenge even more.

#4 - Battle Ropes

Ever been to a gym that had large ropes attached to the walls? These are called battle ropes. While swinging battle ropes only come in at a 3.5 on the MET scale, the benefits of blowing off some steam come in handy.

Take out those work frustrations and burn some calories.

#5 - Walking Uphill With a Load

If you thought walking was bad, try walking up a hill... With some weight.

Give me a second to explain. So simply walking up a hill with no load yields a 6.3 on the MET scale.

Carrying loads bump up the MET score tremendously. If you were to put on a weighted vest and carry 42 pounds or more, you are looking at a MET score of 9.0.

#6 - Hill Sprints

Sprinting up a hill instead of carrying loads is another viable option.

The short bursts of energy you put out to sprint up a hill make for an impressive MET score from 8 to 12.

#7 - Dancing

Like to get your groove on? Dancing provides a way to burn a lot of calories and have fun doing it.

Ranging from a MET score of 3.5 to 7.3, dancing around can burn the fat off in no time.

#8 - Rock Climbing

Do you like climbing stuff? Try rock climbing.

Depending on difficulty and speed of the climb, rock climbing ranks in with a MET score of 5 to 7.

#9 - Rollerblading

A recreational pace of 9 mph has a MET score of 7.5 and if you are able to go 15 mph or faster, the maximal effort will give you a whopping MET score of 14.

Dust off those skates and get to moving.

#10 - Rowing

Want a low impact exercise that'll burn a lot of calories? Try rowing.

Rowing on a stationary machine gets you a MET between 4.8 for low intensity all the way to a 12 for high-intensity all-out rowing.

#11 - Boxing

Want to learn to fight better? Boxing is a great way to burn calories and develop self-protection skills.

Depending on intensity, you're looking at a MET of 5.5-12.8 for full on spar sessions.

#12 - Jumping Jacks

One of the exercises I hated in school, jumping jacks are quick to burn off some calories. On a moderate pace, you can expect a MET of 8 for jumping jacks.

#13 - Swimming

Have a pool? Swimming is great for burning calories in a very low impact environment.

Depending on the type of swimming you are doing, MET can range from 4.8 all the way up to 13.

#14 - Running Up Stairs

While running up stairs has to be the worst idea ever, you can look for a MET score of 15. The intensity and carrying a load make the MET score go up or down.

Believe it or not, taking your groceries upstairs ranks a 7.5 MET score. It only counts if you take them in one trip.

Wrapping It Up

Sustainable weight loss and improved physical fitness come from consistency. There are a lot of exercises here that are better at burning calories than running, but you still have to put in the work.

Pushing yourself to get bigger, faster, and stronger is the only way to getting the physique you are chasing. Those "cheat snacks" you get after putting in a good gym session ruin your progress.

Don't rationalize eating bad food, put in the work, and let's hit some fitness goals this year.