10 of the best exercises to burn the most calories in an hour

Dear yogis, please don't shoot the messenger, but I have news that is certain to bring kale and kambucha tears to the eyes: a sport where it's compulsory to hold a beer in hand while playing burns more calories than yoga – ten pin bowling.

Ever wondered where your exercise ranks? In the USA, The Mayo Clinic ranked 36 forms of exercise and their caloric burn per hour (160 lbs female / 73kgs and 200lbs male /91kgs). Here is a curated list of some of the best, surprising and worst exercises.

The Top 10

1. Running at 13kms per hour

861 calories for women and 1074 calories for men

It's a classic, and it's a superb bodyweight exercise for weight loss. Thirteen kilometres per hour is a groovy pace. Run Forrest, run.

2. Skipping Rope

Women: 861. Men: 1074.

It's my favourite piece of gym equipment that works at home, the gym, and in the hotel on business trips. And it burns loads of calories.

3. Tae kwon do


Women: 752. Men: 937

Developed in the 1940s and '50s, the Korean martial art burns serious calories via numerous kick (side, head, and spinning) routines that require speed, power, strength, balance, and agility.

4. Swimming laps, vigorous

Women: 715. Men: 892.

You only have to look at the bodies of our Olympic swimmers to know sessions in the pool are amazing for the body.

5. Stair treadmill

Women: 657. Men: 819.

I couldn't think of anything more boring than an indoor stair machine. Head outdoors, run real stairs, and burn even more.

6. Running at 8km per hour

Women: 606. Men. 755.

7. Tennis

Women: 584. Men: 728.

With loads of start-stop (and lateral) movements, singles tennis is a fun way to incorporate HIIT while keeping score.

8. Football, touch or flag

Women: 584. Men: 728.

Yes, they mean Gridiron, but the stats would mirror a friendly yet competitive game of corporate rugby or footy here in Australia.

9. Basketball

Women: 584. Men: 728.

Like tennis, basketball is a great way to increase the fitness.

10. Rollerblading

Women: 548. Men: 683.

When I think of rollerblading, I hear Bananarama in the background. But ice hockey players sure are fit.

Honourable mentions

11. Aerobics, high impact

Women: 533. Men: 664.

This is equivalent to bodyweight movements in a boot camp like setting.

12. Racquetball

Women: 51. Men: 637.

Similar to squash, it's a sport popular in the USA. Squash requires a lot more movement to the ball, probably moving it a tad higher on this list.

17. Rowing, stationary

Women: 438. Men: 546.

An hour of rowing at even a moderate pace would smash me. An hour hike would have me smiling. But, 'tis the science.

22. Elliptical trainer, moderate effort

Women: 365. Men: 455.

The lazy man's gym session makes an appearance at #22. Enter gym. Watch TV while hitting the elliptical for 30min. Don't sweat. Leave gym.

23. Weight training

Women: 365. Men: 455.

High reps with low rest, and this soars up the list into the top 3.

29. Volleyball

Women: 292. Men:  364.

Two-person beach volleyball would have to be higher on the list.

30. Power yoga

Women: 292. Men: 364.

It's yoga with less rest, more sweat, and more strength building. Unfortunately, it burns just a few more calories than:

31. Canoeing

Women: 256. Men: 319.

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream!

32. Ten pin bowling

Women: 219. Men: 273.

Four beers in an hour is 600 calories, so net, net this is actually a loss.

33. Ballroom dancing

Women: 219. Men: 273.

Burn some calories because you love it.

36. Hatha yoga

Women: 183. Men: 228.

I now understand why those hipsters at Bondi's Saturday markets look so fresh! They burned about one glass of white wine from their morning session.

Final words

Ultimately, these are just numbers. Do what you enjoy, but just do it with some intensity. If you're sweating, swearing, and smiling, you're getting a good session in. I think we should all be able to run, have some strength, and exercise some restraint in the kitchen.

Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his "Cut The BS" diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.

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