Top 10 Calorie-Burning Activities

If you want to be in top shape for anything you do, the gym might beckon. If you’re the type of guy who doesn’t enjoy grunting through reps of sticky weights as dance music pumps in your ears, you’re not alone.

A gym workout certainly has vast health benefits, but if you’d rather burn calories and tone up without being a gym rat, you’re in luck: There are a myriad of sports and other activities that will have you feeling good in no time.

Here are the top 10 calorie-burning sports and recreational activities.


Calories burned per hour: 500 to 800

Swimming’s biggest health benefit is its complete lack of impact to your joints and its a great toner. Keep in mind, though, when we say swimming, we don’t mean cannonball contests and games of Marco Polo. If you have a pool or at least access to one, put some time aside to swim some laps. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you tire, but pleased at how the water keeps you cool.


Calories burned per hour: 550 to 900

The middle ground between walking and running, a steady jog can be a great fat-burner. You don’t need to run as fast as you can; a simple trot over a period of time will do wonders for your cardiovascular fitness as well as help you tone up and strengthen your core muscles. The key is to jog for a significant distance, so don’t burn yourself out by starting out with a pace you can’t keep up. And whether you’re an experienced jogger or a beginner, proper stretching will ensure you complete your jog with happy muscles._________________________________________________________________________

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Calories burned per hour: 600 to 900

Start, stop. Start, stop. Start, stop. Such is the rhythm of tennis. It’s a great workout, however, you might not want to tackle this sport if you have bad knees or ankles. Remember, for the maximum physical benefit, singles tennis is better than its doubles counterpart because you’ll cover more ground during a match. Your shoulders, forearms and hips will get a workout even if you’re a beginner.


Calories burned per hour: 600 to 900

You don’t have to strap on the pads and risk injuries and bruises to get in shape through the team sport of football. Hundreds of flag and touch leagues exist across the continent, allowing you to play in a variety of skill divisions, including coed. So many leagues means it will be easy for you to find one that suits your skill level, which makes it more fun to get out and burn calories. And whether you’re on offense or defense, the running and quick changes in direction will be sure to help you tone up or drop the pounds.

Stair climbing

Calories burned per hour: 650 to 900

When you’re told about stair-climbing, you might think of a treadmill that simulates stairs, but this list isn’t about activities that are done in the gym. Instead, do the real thing -- there are few things like it. We’ve all seen athletes running stadium steps long before fans arrive, and they do it for a reason. The climbing motion works not only your lower body and quickly firms your glutes, but also makes your upper half strain as well. Mix up your routine by jumping with your feet together up one stair, then two at a time.

Ice hockey

Calories burned per hour: 650 to 900

Depending where you live, outdoor ice hockey might not be possible, but just about every city in North America has an indoor arena. Ice skating is a superb workout, but add the quick changes and rapid moves of a game of hockey, and you’ve got an even better activity. Recreational and industrial leagues are increasing in popularity, meaning it will be easy to find a group of individuals at your same skill level.

Martial arts

Calories burned per hour: 700 to 1,100

Regardless of whether you’re practicing karate, judo, tae kwon do or any other martial art, you can’t go wrong. Any activity that has you moving quickly and in a variety of ways is sure to help tone you up, whether you’re learning a new martial art or you’re an experienced combatant. Remember, you don’t have to learn this skill with the intention of fighting or grappling. Gyms are full of people learning combat sports without the intention of stepping into the ring.

Jumping rope

Calories burned per hour: 700 to 1,100

Boxers do it to warm up, but after a few short minutes of this activity, you’ll be considering it more than just a simple preface to your workout. It’s simple, but effective, and works the entire body, as well as helps you with hand-eye coordination. You’ll easily improve hand and foot speed as the calories fall away. Once you’ve moved up from basic jumps, it’s a fun challenge to incorporate speed steps, side swings and crossing patterns to your routine. Jumping rope may not have been the thing to do at recess, but it’s perfectly masculine to try.


Calories burned per hour: 900 to 1,400

Still have World Cup fever? You might enjoy translating that passion to a pitch near you. In soccer, you’ll walk a bit, jog a bit more and sprint occasionally, but the key thing to remember is that you’re always moving. The large dimensions of the playing surface mean there’s plenty of ground to cover, and you’ll certainly find yourself in lots of foot races. You’ll get a chance to jog backward and from side to side, keeping your body limber and fit. Remember, groin and hip flexor injuries are common in “the beautiful game,” so stretch longer than you might for another sport.


Calories burned per hour: 900 to 1,500

Walking and jogging are great, but upping your pace will mean more calories burned and more toning of your muscles. Running is ideal in that it works every part of your body, from your calves and quads to your abs and pecs. For the best calorie-burning potential, try to keep your speed above 8 mph. Running in nature, whether on a trail or even in a residential area offers a constant change of scenery that will make you happy to step off the treadmill.