8 Activities That Burn The Most Calories

Exercises are awesome for the body. But when weight loss is the goal, you might be wondering which activity burns the most calories. Where does one even start?

There’s a good chance you know that you need to lose more than you take in. So while you’re improving your diet, try these eight activities to melt away the most calories.


1. Swimming

Swimming doubles as resistance training since you have to work against the water. You’ll actually get 12 to 14% more resistance than when you work out on land.1 This will help you gain muscle, which is more metabolically active than fat. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn – even at rest.

Swimming also serves as cardio, but without the sweat! Even wading around for 30 minutes can burn 180 to 266 calories, depending on your weight. To lose even more calories, do laps and breaststrokes.2


If you have physical limitations or don’t know how to swim, just move around in shallow water. The resistance of the water can still provide a full body workout.

2. Tabata

Tabata is a high-intensity interval training that can really push your body. It calls for four minutes of 20-second super-high-intensity exercises in between 10 seconds of rest.3 These include exercises like sprints, burpees, and mountain climbers. Even simple moves like squats are done at maximum force.


Usually, Tabata is done in boot camp-style classes. But if that isn’t your thing, create your own version. You can do exercises at a moderate-intensity level with longer intervals of rest. Try starting with 60 to 45 seconds and work your way down. All you need is a stopwatch and a clear space. It’s a great way to torn simple moves into powerful activities that burn calories.

3. Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is another way to build up muscle. You’ll have to use multiple muscle groups at once, giving your body a full workout.4 Everything from your neck to your legs will become stronger. Remember, you’ll burn more calories when you have more muscle.


If you’ve never tried rock climbing before, don’t worry. Indoor gyms are becoming more and more popular. You can climb a wall while strapped into ropes. If you go with a friend, they can act as your spotter. It’s the perfect reason to visit your local gym!

4. Jogging

Regularly jogging is a basic way to lose calories. And since it’s so easy, many beginners start with this activity. Depending on how fast you go, 30 minutes of jogging can burn 400 calories or more.5 It also counts as a weight-bearing exercise that makes your muscles grow.6 For even better benefits, consider wearing a weight belt while you jog. This will encourage muscle growth.


If you’d rather jog instead of run, aim for 30 minutes five days a week. You can even split it up into several 10 to 15-minute intervals.7 Do what works best for your schedule, preference, and lifestyle.

5. Jump Rope

Jump roping is a way to make your body turn calories into energy. After all, this activity will get your heart pumping! You can burn 300 to 444 (or more) calories from 30 minutes of jump roping.8 It’s also very budget-friendly since a single jump rope is quite cheap. You can find it at sports stores and even toy shops.


Research has even found that jump roping can suppress your appetite, too. It does this by controlling the hormones that regulate your appetite.9 You’ll be less likely to add back calories after you lose them.

6. Rowing

Again, a workout that makes you gain muscle is what burns more calories. Try rowing, a sport that pushes your upper body to work hard. It will focus on your shoulders, arms, and torso. You’ll also be able to support yourself better while doing other exercises.


The rowing machine at the gym counts, too. These are easy to use and won’t place the strain on the back or joints. You’ll also make your leg muscles stronger with each push. For every 30 minutes, moderate to vigorous stationary rowing will burn 311 to 377 calories or more.10

7. Bicycling

Cycling can burn lots of calories. Bicycling on a stationary bike for 30 minutes can burn 210 to 466 calories. But if you’d rather head outside, cycling on a moving bike will make you lose upward of 400 or more.11

Opt for a stationary bike if you don’t know how to ride a bike. This is also a good option if the weather is too hot or cold. Luckily, cycling is becoming super trendy. You can even find studios that are dedicated to just cycling.

8. Aerobics

If jogging or cycling seem boring to you, try aerobics. It combines high-energy stretching, lifting, and cardio for a complete workout. And since it’s performed to music, it’s a lot of fun. Dance lovers will have a blast.

A 30-minute class will melt 210 to 444 calories, depending on the intensity and person. But since most classes run for 60 to 90 minutes, even more calories will be burned. If aerobics brings about images of 80s videos, think again. There are many types of aerobics these days, from step to Zumba. Fusion classes are also becoming popular. For example, a class might feature a mix of ballet, Pilates, and dance moves to pop music.

Don’t forget to eat a wholesome, well-rounded diet. Chow down on fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Combined with these calorie-burning activities, you’ll be on your way to a healthy lifestyle.