What Exercise Activity Burns the Most Calories in an Hour?

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More than 35 percent of Americans over age 20 are obese and more than 33 percent are overweight, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Getting active through exercise burns calories -- a process measured as metabolic equivalent value, or MET -- helping you lose weight. Every 3,500 calories you burn translates into 1 pound of fat. When you're working exercise into a busy schedule, choose activities with a high MET to make efficient use of your time. Your weight and the intensity of your effort both impact the number of calories burned.

In the Gym

  • When expending vigorous effort, a 150-pound person burns 852 calories in an hour of stationary biking, while a 250-pound person burns 1,419. Rope jumping burns 861 calories per hour for a 160-pound person and 1,286 calories for those weighing 240 pounds. High-impact aerobics also have high MET; a 160-pound person burns 533 calories per hour, and a 240-pound person burns 796.

Sports and Training

  • Running and bicycling vigorously burn more calories per hour than many other sports and training exercises. A 150-pound person running at a speed of 10.9 miles per hour, or a 5.5 minute mile, burns 1,225 calories per hour; at the same speed, a 250-pound person burns 2,042 calories. Bicycling at race speed burns 1,089 calories per hour if you weigh 150 pounds and 1,815 calories per hour if you weigh 250 pounds. Other high MET sports include tae kwon do, which burns 752 calories per hour for a 160-pound person and 1,123 calories for a 240-pound person. Basketball, tennis and football all burn 584 calories per hour for a 160-pound person and 872 calories for a 240-pound person.

Outdoor Recreation

  • When it comes to outdoor recreational activities, cross-country skiing burns the most calories. A 150-pound person skiing uphill and putting in maximum effort burns 1,124 calories per hour, while a 250-pound person burns 1,873 calories. Canoeing at a speed of more than 6 miles per hour with maximum effort burns 817 calories per hour for a 150-pound person, while a 250-pound person burns 1,362. An hour of rock climbing burns 660 calories for a 125-pound person, while a 185-pound person burns 976. A 160-pound person burns 511 calories in one hour of backpacking; a 240-pound person burns 1,526 calories.

Around the House

  • Even physical activities around the house provide exercise that burns calories. High MET home exercises include shoveling snow and chopping wood, which burn about 432 calories per hour for a 150-pound person and 720 calories for a 250-pound person. Walking up the stairs burns about 545 calories per hour for a 150-pound person and 908 calories for a 250-pound person.

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