The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends most adults get a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Aerobic activity is any movement that makes your heart beat faster and causes you to feel a little out of breath. During moderate-intensity aerobic activity, you may even break a sweat. Estimating how many calories you burn during your aerobics session can help you manage your weight. The exact number of calories you burn depends on many factors – including your size, efficiency at the movement and your body composition. All estimates are for a 160-pound person. If you weigh more, expect to burn a greater number of calories per hour and if you weigh less, estimate a lower calorie burn.
Fast walking counts as moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and is a low-impact movement appropriate for most people. Walking at 3.5 miles per hour burns approximately 314 calories per hour. If you prefer getting in the pool, a one-hour water aerobics class can burn between 281 and 402 calories per hour – depending on your intensity. Swimming laps at a slow pace burns about 423 calories per hour. Ride the stationary bicycle at a moderate intensity for an hour and burn approximately 493 calories. A low-impact aerobics class, including aerobic dance, burns about 365 calories per hour.
Even if you are doing activity for fun, remember it still has to get your heart rate up and some sweat going to count as moderate activity. Go for a cross-country, hilly hike at a 3.5- to 4-mile-per-hour pace and you can burn about 438 calories per hour. The CDC notes that biking on a flat terrain with little to no hills counts as moderately intense aerobic exercise. You can expect to burn about 300 to 500 calories per hour, depending on your efficiency on the bike, wind resistance and your speed. Playing doubles tennis burns 422 calories per hour. To make your golf game count as moderate-intensity exercise, skip the cart and walk the course – pulling your own clubs – to burn about 303 calories per hour of play.
You can also fit exercise into your daily life by doing your own chores. Shopping, light dusting and bathing aren't big calorie burners and don't raise your heart rate enough to count as moderate-intensity exercise. Mowing your lawn, however, will burn about 387 calories per hour if you push the mower yourself. Riding your mower does not count as moderate-intensity exercise. Raking leaves and bagging them burns between 280 and 315 calories per hour. Shoveling snow from a long walk and driveway also counts as moderate exercise – burning about 422 calories per hour. Walking and actively playing with your pooch burns about 281 calories per hour.
If fitting in 150 minutes of exercise weekly is daunting, consider breaking it up into 10-minute intervals. You could take a 10-minute walk in the morning, play with your pup for 10 minutes in the afternoon and hit the gym for a 10-minute swim in the evening to fit in the minimum 30 minutes of exercise daily. The CDC notes that getting more than the minimum 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise can reap greater health benefits. If you are trying to lose weight, you may have to up the amount of time you spend exercising as well. The American College of Sports Medicine says that fitting in more than 250 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise weekly may produce significant weight loss.
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- Nutristrategy: Calories Burned During Exercise, Activities, Sports and Work
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for Everyone
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Position Stand on Physical Activity and Weight Loss Now Available
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