If you think only professional athletes have the time to burn 1,500 calories per day, think again. With the right exercise, you can burn 1,500 calories in as little as an hour. Aerobic exercises are the best choice as they burn the most calories in the least amount of time. Weight training, however, can also help you burn more calories per day as 1 pound of muscle burns more calories at rest than 1 pound of fat.
Running is one of the most efficient exercises for burning calories. The calories you burn depend on how long and how fast you run. According to Harvard Medical School, if you weigh 185 pounds and can run a 6-minute mile, you burn nearly 1,500 calories in one hour of running. If running at 10 miles per hour seems intimidating, running a 9-minute mile can also burn about 1,500 calories -- but it will take you almost two hours. However, if you only weigh 125 pounds, it will also take nearly two hours to burn the 1,500 calories, even at a 6-minute mile pace.
Biking is another calorie-burning beast of a workout. If you weigh 185 pounds, two hours on a stationary bike at a vigorous pace will burn 1,864 calories. Road or mountain biking for the same time at the same pace will yield similar caloric results and might be more entertaining. If you weigh 155 pounds, it will take nearly two hours to burn 1,500 calories -- at 125 pounds, you will need to spend 2.5 hours in the saddle for the same results. If you are an avid biker and can pedal at 20 miles per hour, you can burn up to 733 calories in just a half hour.
If you don’t mind getting wet, swimming laps for 1.5 to two hours can get you to your 1,500-calorie-per-day goal, depending on your weight. The crawl and butterfly are the hardest strokes, burning 488 calories in a half hour for a 185-pound person compared to 444 calories in the same time for the breaststroke or 355 calories for the backstroke. Treading water vigorously is just as good as swimming laps in terms of calories.
For a hobby that doubles as a workout, try rock climbing -- it burns 976 calories in an hour for a 185-pound person. You will only burn 1,500 calories in 1.5 hours while you are ascending; the downward climb isn’t as calorie intensive. If you are rappelling while rock climbing, you still burn a hefty 710 calories per hour if you are 185 pounds, but only 460 calories per hour if you weigh 125 pounds. Because it will take between 1.5 and three hours to burn 1,500 calories with rock climbing, depending on your weight and intensity level, an indoor rock climbing gym may get boring quickly. Consider traveling to locations that have outdoor rock formations like Boulder, Colorado, or Moab, Utah.
Kelly MacGregor holds bachelor's degrees in news-editorial journalism and ecology/evolutionary biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to writing for the "Colorado Engineer Magazine," the "Boulder Daily Camera" and EdNews Parent, MacGregor's work has been picked up by the "Colorado Daily," EdNews Colorado and the "Denver Post."