Q: What are the best calorie-burning activities?
A: When it comes to cardio exercise we all know that it is essential to keep us healthy and in shape. But often people find it difficult to make time for a long cardio session. Let’s face it – we want a workout that will burn the most amount of calories in the least amount of time. The good news is that you don’t need to spend hours at the gym; just pick the right activity! For the highest caloric burn choose activities that use more muscle mass and that have resistance. The higher the intensity, the more calories you’ll burn. Here are nine activities that burn the most calories.
- Sprint intervals: try doing intervals of high speed activities to burn up to 450 calories an 30 minutes. An example is sprinting as fast as possible for two minutes and switching to jogging for one minute. Repeat these intervals for as long as you can. Other activities that can be completed in sprint intervals are biking and swimming.
- Tabata training: tabata training is a high-intensity style of training which burns a lot of calories in little time. For instance, complete 20 seconds at an all out pace, follow with 10 seconds of recovery and repeat the process eight times. At first it may feel easy but you will begin feeling the burn with more reps. Push-ups, squats, jump rope and crunches are all great exercises to complete in tabata training style.
- Rock climbing: this is a challenging yet extremely rewarding activity that can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors. Rock climbing works every muscle in your body to give you a full body workout. Leg and back muscles work to move and propel your body upwards. A 155 lb person burns approximately 409 calories in 30 minutes. Try increasing your pace or following a more challenging path to burn more calories.
- Swimming: another great whole body workout is swimming, which can burn 300-450 calories in 30 minutes. Legs are activated for kicking, arms stroke continuously and the core contracts to give the ultimate body challenge. Breast stroke and butterfly movements are highly effective and taxing. In addition, try swimming against a current in the ocean or in a pool for greater caloric burn.
- Hill workouts: biking or running on a flat surface is great. Adding resistance by doing it on a slight incline burns even more calories. On average there are 10% more calories burned for each degree of incline compared to a flat surface. In addition the resistance targets more muscle fibers and works out the glutes.
- Jump rope: using a skipping rope for a sustained period of time is highly taxing and challenging. A 155 lb person can burn up to 372 calories per 30 minutes of jumping rope. It is recommend to complete this activity in intervals such as jumping rope for a few minutes and breaking to jog in place for 1-2 minutes.
- Jogging: for burning many calories in a short amount of time, jogging is a great option. Running for 6 mph can burn over 350 calories in 30 minutes. The faster you run the more calories you will burn.
- Rowing: rowing is arguably the top activity for burning calories. Several major muscle groups are involved in the movements such as hamstrings, shoulders, back, glutes, core, lats, triceps and biceps. Using an ergometer indoors burns about 316 calories per 30 minutes. Add an extra challenge by rowing outdoors.
- Cross-country skiing: this is a fun calorie burner that can even be done in groups with friends and family. Since you are moving your body over the ground this automatically adds intensity to the workout. Not to mention the use of poles and moving legs with skis attached. A 155 lb person would burn 298 calories in 30 minutes of this activity.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program and start at a comfortable pace.
Shaun Karp is a certified Vancouver fitness expert, offering health and fitness services across the lower mainland in 11 athletic training facilities. For further information, call his office at 604-420-7800