How Many Calories Do These Popular Exercises Burn?

How Many Calories Do These Popular Exercises Burn?

Burning calories through exercise is the healthiest way to lose weight. When you expend more calories than you consume in a day, you create a calorie deficit. In response, your body relies on burning stored fat as fuel. The amount of calories burned during exercise depends not just on the activity and time spent on it, but also your weight. In this article, you'll learn how many calories some of the most common exercises burn.

How Do You Track Calories Burned?

Every physical activity has a MET value, which stands for Metabolic Equivalent of Task. It's a unit of measurement for oxygen consumed per kilogram of body weight per minute. It can also be thought of as an energy cost. Muscle cells require oxygen to generate energy, so the higher an activity's MET value, the more calories your body expends doing the activity. 

The baseline MET value for doing no physical activity is about 3.5 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute. The MET value for various physical activities is calculated by exercise scientists with equipment that measures oxygen consumption. Once you know the MET value of an exercise, you can plug it into a formula to determine the amount of calories burned during your activity. The formula is:

(MET * 3.5 * body weight in kilograms) * (Duration in minutes) / 200 = Calories burned.

How Many Calories Does Aerobics Burn?

Aerobics, also called cardiovascular training, involves elevating your heart rate through moderate to vigorous activity. During aerobic activity, your heart and lungs are tasked with delivering more oxygen through your body than they would at rest. The increase in oxygen consumption translates to more calories burned, making aerobic activity the fastest way to burn calories.


The average runner goes at a pace of 9 to 12 minutes per mile. The faster your pace, the more calories you'll burn within that time. If running on a treadmill, you can increase the incline to 1% to get the same level of difficulty as running on terrain. For 30 minutes of running, a 200-lb person can expect to burn 384 calories at a 12 min/mi pace, or 480 calories at a 10 min/mi pace. A 125-lb runner can expect to burn 240 calories at a 12 min/mi pace, or 300 calories at a 10 min/mile pace.

Swimming Laps

Swimming laps is the best aerobic workout to burn the most calories in the shortest time. Going at a moderate to vigorous pace for 30 minutes, swimming laps burns about 480 calories for a 200-lb person, or 300 calories for a 125-lb person.


Cycling is often selected for high-intensity interval training to improve cardiovascular health because you can easily adjust your intensity. On a stationary bike, you can adjust your intensity by adding resistance and pedaling faster. For 30 minutes on a stationary bike, cycling at a moderate intensity burns 336 calories for a 200-lb person and 210 calories for a 125-lb person. With vigorous cycling, the calories burned increase to 504 for a 200-lb person and 315 for a 125-lb person. 

Regular cycling at 15 miles per hour burns 500 calories for a 200-lb cyclist and 300 calories for a 125-lb cyclist.

Elliptical Machine

The elliptical machine provides low-impact activity that still gets the heart racing. Thirty minutes on the elliptical machine can blast 432 calories for a 200-lb person and 270 calories for a 125-lb person.

Stationery Rowing

Rowing is another low-impact cardio exercise you can perform at varying intensities. Stationery rowing performed at a moderate intensity burns 336 calories in 30 minutes for a 200-lb person and 210 calories for a 125-lb person. Performed vigorously, rowing can burn 408 calories for a 200-lb person and 255 calories for a 125-lb person.

Stair Climbing

Using a stair climber torches 288 calories in 30 minutes for a 200-lb person. A 125-lb person can burn 180 calories with 30 minutes of stair climbing.

How Many Calories Does Strength Training Burn?

Strength training generally burns fewer calories per hour than aerobics does. However, strength training is integral to weight loss and health because building muscle mass increases your metabolism. In other words, the more muscle you have, the more calories you expend, even at rest. Muscles consume glucose and fat for around 48 after strength training. As the muscles recover, your body burns more calories than it otherwise would, thanks to what experts call “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption," or EPOC.

Here are the calories you can expect to burn with 5 minutes of strength training exercise:

  • Push ups: 64 calories at 200 lbs or 40 calories at 125 lbs
  • Squats: 44 calories at 200 lbs or 27 calories at 125 lbs
  • Lunges: 32 calories at 200 lbs or 20 calories at 125 lbs
  • Sit ups: 64 calories at 200 lbs or 40 calories at 125 lbs

How Many Calories Does Yoga Burn?

There are various types of yoga that are practiced for different purposes. Depending on the type of yoga, a good yoga session can burn lots of calories and strengthen your muscles in the process.

Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga

Hatha yoga is perfect for beginners, whereas ashtanga yoga includes more advanced poses. However, both types of yoga go slowly and focus on holding poses rather than flowing through them. They burn about the same amount of calories. While they aren't big calorie burners, these types of yoga are excellent for helping your body recover from strength training and cardio. 

Doing 30 minutes of Hatha or Ashtanga yoga burns about 192 calories for a 200-lb person and 120 calories for a 125-lb person.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa is the most commonly practiced type of yoga in the US. It involves moving through poses in a "flow," as opposed to posing for long holds. A 30-minute Vinyasa yoga session burns 262 calories for a 200-lb person and 164 calories for a 125-lb person. 

The Best Exercises to Burn Calories

Aerobic training is the best way to burn the most calories per hour. The higher your intensity, the more calories you'll burn. Combining aerobics with strength training will help you burn more calories in the time after your workout. Yoga is another effective way to burn calories while gaining strength and flexibility. 
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