The key to losing weight is understanding the number of calories burned versus the number of calories consumed each day. However, while counting calories consumed is relatively easy (just look at the nutrition labels), counting the calories burned during exercise can be much more difficult. Calories burned depend on current weight, duration of exercise, and effort used to complete the activity. However, depending on the exercise activity, a rough estimate of calories burned can be discerned based on these factors. Three of the easiest exercises which require very little equipment are running, cycling, and walking, and all are excellent ways to burn calories.
Running is one of the highest calorie-burning activities. Not surprisingly, the faster a person runs and the further a person runs, the more calories a person burns. For example, a 130 pound woman running 10-minute miles for one hour will burn roughly 590 calories. That same woman will burn close to 830 calories if she drops down to a 7-minute mile. Similarly, a 190 pound man will burn 863 calories or 1208 calories if running the same paces, respectively. Being able to run faster with more weight burns more calories.
Like running, faster cycling (categorized as 20 miles per hour or faster) results in far more calories burned. However, unlike running, a person’s weight matters less when they’re on a bike. A third component of calorie-burning while cycling is also the conditions; if a person cycles outside into the wind they burn far more calories than on a stationary bike in the gym. A 190 pound man, for example, burns 518 calories for an hour riding on the roads, while he will only burn 431 riding a stationary bike for an hour.
Though walking burns far fewer calories (approximately 1/3 of the calories burned while running for the same period of time), it is far better for a person’s joints and is still a great aerobic exercise. At the same time, different factors can increase the strenuousness of the walking activity. Walking uphill, on stairs, or on grass or dirt take more energy than walking down the sidewalk and burn more than twice as many calories. A 130 pound person will burn just 207 calories if walking on the sidewalk at three miles per hour for one hour, while they will burn 295 calories on a grass track, 472 calories walking up stairs, or 354 calories walking uphill.
Sources: NutriStrategy. “List of Calories Burned During Exercise.” http://www.nutristrategy.com/activitylist.htm. Accessed 14 July 2010.