Fitness and Physical Activity: How to burn the most calories (table)

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Which exercise burns the most calories? A typical question along with: Can you lose weight by cleaning your house? There are formulas and calculators online, that allow you to calculate your  own numbers. Alternatively, have a look at this table.

In 2004, the Harvard Heart newsletter contained a table of energy consumption for three people of different bodyweights. In 2017, the content was updated on the Harvard Health website.

Here is the table showing energy consumption for a wide range of activities organized by categories; gym activities such as fitness, physical exercise and sports as well as domestic work and job activity. Activities include aerobics, cycling, walking and running at various intensities as well as swimming, yoga and even watching tv or sleeping. In each category, activities are ranked from lowest to highest number of calories consumed.

Calorie consumption per. 30 minutes of activity
Gym activities 57 kg person 70 kg person 84 kg person
Weightlifting: in general 90 112 133
Aerobics: water 120 149 178
Stretching, Hatha Yoga 120 149 178
Calisthenics: moderate 135 167 200
Riders: in general 150 186 222
Aerobic: low impact 165 205 244
Staircase: in general 180 223 266
Teaching aerobics 180 223 266
Weightlifting: Strenuous 180 223 266
Aerobic, step: low impact 210 260 311
Aerobic: high impact 210 260 311
Cycling, stationary: moderate 210 260 311
Roning, stationary: moderate 210 260 311
Calisthenics: Strenuous 240 298 355
Circuit Training: In general 240 298 355
Rowing, stationary: strenuous 255 316 377
Elliptical Trainer: In general 270 335 400
Ski machine: in general 285 353 422
Aerobic, step: high impact 300 372 444
Cycling, Stationary: Strenuous 315 391 466
Exercise and sports activities
Billiards 75 93 111
Bowling 90 112 133
Dance: slow, waltz, foxtrot 90 112 133
Frisbee 90 112 133
Volleyball: Non-comp., in general 90 112 133
Water volleyball 90 112 133
Archery: non-hunting 105 130 155
Golf: with the use of golf cart 105 130 155
Gliding 105 130 155
curling 120 149 178
Gymnastics: in general 120 149 178
Horseback riding: in general 120 149 178
Tai Chi 120 149 178
Volleyball: competition, game 120 149 178
Walk: 5.6 km / h (3.5 mph) 120 149 178
Badminton: In general 135 167 200
Walking: 6.4 km / h (4 mph) 135 167 200
Kayaking 150 186 222
Skateboarding 150 186 222
Snorkeling diving 150 186 222
Softball: General game 150 186 222
Running 7 km / h (4.5 mph) 150 186 222
Rafting, kayaking 150 186 222
Dance: disco, latin, standard, square dance 165 205 244
Golf: carry on clubs 165 205 244
Dance: Fast, ballet, twist 180 223 266
Fencing 180 223 266
Hiking 180 223 266
Skiing: Alpine skiing 180 223 266
Swimming: in general 180 223 266
Walk / Jog: Jog <10 min. 180 223 266
Waterski 180 223 266
Wrestling 180 223 266
Basketball: wheelchair 195 242 289
Race walking 195 242 289
Ice skating: in general 210 260 311
Racquetball: relaxed, generally 210 260 311
Rollerblade ice skating 210 260 311
Diving, scuba or free 210 260 311
Tobogganing 210 260 311
Football: in general 210 260 311
Tennis: in general 210 260 311
Basketball: play a match 240 298 355
Cycling: 19-22 km / h (12-13.9 mph) 240 298 355
American football, general 240 298 355
Hockey: field and ice 240 298 355
Climbing: rappelling 240 298 355
Running: 8 km / h (5 mph) 240 298 355
Running: pushwheelchair, marathon 240 298 355
Skiing: cross country skiing 240 298 355
Snowshoe walk 240 298 355
Swimming: Backcrawl 240 298 355
Volleyball: beach volley 240 298 355
Cycling: BMX or mountain biking 255 316 377
Boxing: sparring 270 335 400
Football: competition 270 335 400
Orienteering 270 335 400
Running: 8.3 km / h (5.2 mph) 270 335 400
Running: cross-country trail 270 335 400
Cycling: 22-25.4 km/h, 14-15.9 mph 300 372 444
Martial arts: judo, karate, kickbox 300 372 444
Racquetball: competition 300 372 444
Rope skipping 300 372 444
Running: 9.6 km / h (6 mph) 300 372 444
Swimming: Breast stroke 300 372 444
Swimming: Laps, strenuous 300 372 444
Swimming: thread water, strenuous 300 372 444
Water Polo 300 372 444
Climbing: upwards 330 409 488
Running: 10.7 km / h (6.7 mph) 330 409 488
Swimming: Butterfly 330 409 488
Swimming: Crawl 330 409 488
Cycling: 25-30 km / h (16-19 mph) 360 446 533
Handball: in general 360 446 533
Running: 12 km / h (7.5 mph) 375 465 555
Runs: 13.8 km / h (8.6 mph) 435 539 644
Cycling:> 32 km / h (20 mph) 495 614 733
Running: 16 km / h (10 mph) 495 614 733
Outdoor activities
Planting plants, bushes 120 149 178
Rake leaves 120 149 178
Collect grass or leaves in sacks 120 149 178
Gardening: in general 135 167 200
Move the lawn: manual, electric 135 167 200
Operate snow blower 135 167 200
Plant trees 135 167 200
Gardening: removing weeds 139 172 205
Carry and stack wood 150 186 222
Dig soil 150 186 222
Dig gravel 150 186 222
Move the lawn: push, manually 165 205 244
Fell wood, cleave wood 180 223 266
Shoveling snow: by hand 180 223 266
Home and daily life
Sleep 19 23 28
Watch television 23 28 33
Read: seated 34 42 50
Stand in line 38 47 56
Cooking 75 93 111
Childcare: bathing, feed, etc. 105 130 155
Buy: go shopping with a cart 105 130 155
Moving: unpacking 105 130 155
Playing with children: moderately strenuous 120 149 178
Heavy cleaning: wash car, windows 135 167 200
Children’s play: hops, jacks etc. 150 186 222
Playing with children: Strenuous 150 186 222
Moving: carry furniture 180 223 266
Moving: carry transport boxes 210 260 311
Home repairs
Car repair 90 112 133
Wiring and plumbing 90 112 133
Carpentry: furniture restoration 135 167 200
Lay or remove carpet / tile 135 167 200
Paint, wallpaper work: inside 135 167 200
Cleaning of drainpipes 150 186 222
Hang up shutters 150 186 222
Painting of house: outside 150 186 222
Carpentry: outside 180 223 266
Roofing 180 223 266
Job activities
Computer Work 41 51 61
Easy office work 45 56 67
Sit in meetings 49 60 72
Desk work 53 65 78
Sit in classroom 53 65 78
Truck driving: seated 60 74 89
Bar tending / serving 75 93 111
Heavy equipment, operator 75 93 111
Police officer 75 93 111
Theater work 90 112 133
Welding 90 112 133
Carpentry 105 130 155
Coaching (training), sports 120 149 178
Masseur, standing 120 149 178
Constructor, in general 165 205 244
Coalmine work 180 223 266
Horse care 180 223 266
Stonemasonry 210 260 311
Forestry, in general 240 298 355
Heavy tool work, without power 240 298 355
Steelmill work: in general 240 298 355
Fire fighting 360 446 533


This table was first printed in the July 2004 edition of Harvard Heart Letter.
For more information:  http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart

Read original article (2017):

Harvard Health: Calories burned in 30 minutes of leisure and routine activities


Photo: Linden Laserna © FreeImages.

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