Which Sport Burns The Most Calories Per Hour?

Everyone knows the best way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit.

Some people struggle to stay motivated while exercising or cannot find enough time to work out before or after work. Exercises burn the most calories per hour become helpful in cases where time is constrained.

So which sport burns the most calories per hour?

Running is an excellent way to burn the most calories per hour. Depending on your weight and workout intensity, running for an hour can burn between 500 to 900 calories. In addition to running, cycling, swimming, rowing, and kickboxing can burn over 500 calories per hour. Kickboxing in particular can burn a staggering amount of calories in a single session.

If you’re searching for a sport that burns the highest number of calories per hour, we’re going to cover some excellent options.

While it may be common knowledge that running burns the most calories, many people may not enjoy running or find it too strenuous on their bodies. This is where workouts like cycling and swimming come into play, where you can still burn many calories in a small timeframe.

Which Sport Burns The Most Calories Per Hour?

Which sport burns the most calories per hour

While many sports are incredibly effective in burning energy, a few can top the rest for the number of calories burnt within an hour of exercising. 

Calories Burned Per Hour By Running

Running is a high-impact, strenuous exercise that keeps your entire body moving and burning energy. It is the most efficient type of workout for those seeking to burn the most significant number of calories in a small time frame. 

The number of calories you can burn in an hour of running will depend on numerous factors, such as your running pace, weight, and height, as well as the running surface and incline. The quicker you run, the harder your body will work, which means a faster pace will burn more calories. People with a higher body weight will also burn more calories per hour. 

Running can burn between 10.8 and 16 calories per minute, depending on the intensity of the run and your body weight.

Even at an extremely slow pace, you can still burn around 400 calories per hour. A person weighing 140lbs would burn about 600 to 635 calories per hour, running at a speed of 6 miles per hour. 

See our breakdown of calories burned from running per mile.

Factors That Affect Calories Burned While Running

Burning calories running

Numerous factors can affect how many calories you burn in a 60-minute run. If your goal is to burn the highest amount of calories possible, looking at the factors affecting your energy expenditure will help you achieve your goal faster.

Running Speed – Your running pace will significantly affect how many calories you can burn in a single hour. Running faster will ensure you increase the intensity of your workout, leading to greater energy expenditure. It would significantly help if you aimed for a pace between 5 – 6 miles per hour to burn the most calories. 

Bodyweight – The more you weigh, the more calories you will burn. Your body will need to do extra work when running, and if it has increased weight to carry, this will lead to a higher amount of calories burned – this is fantastic news for those looking to lose weight – or belly fat. However, once the weight is lost, you will need to work harder to burn the same calories. 

Inclined Running – Running uphill is a surefire way to increase the number of calories you burn per hour – this is because of the increase in effort when attempting to run on an incline. The more intense the exercise is, the more energy you will burn. It is also important to remember that running back down the same hill will burn fewer calories. It’s also a great way to tone your legs and glutes!

Running Surface – The surface you are running on will affect how many calories you can burn per hour. Trail running or running on sand will burn more calories because there is an increased effort on your body when running on uneven surfaces. Road running burns fewer calories than trail running but running on a treadmill will burn the least calories per hour, as there is no resistance. 

Calories Burned Per Hour By Cycling 

Cycling off calories

Some people may not be able to exercise through running. This can be because of knee injuries, or they simply cannot get into it. Thankfully there are plenty of calorie-zapping cardio alternatives.

Cycling is another excellent sport that can burn many calories every hour.

Depending on the intensity of your training and your body weight, cycling can burn between 450 – 850 calories per hour.

Even cycling at a leisurely pace of 5.5 mph can burn 250 – 300 calories in 60 minutes. You must pick up your pace to burn the most calories in a single hour through cycling. Cycling 10 – 20 mph will ensure you burn the most calories per minute.

If you want to increase the intensity of your workout, which will increase the number of calories burned, you can try mountain biking. The extra effort placed on your body from cycling off-road will ensure you burn more calories per hour than just cycling on a flat surface. 

Calories Burned Per Hour By Swimming 

Open water swimming

Swimming is another fantastic sport that will ensure you burn the most calories in the shortest time frame. It is also a brilliant way to prevent injuries or strain on previous injuries, as swimming is a low-impact exercise that protects your muscles and joints

Depending on your body weight and the intensity of your exercise, swimming can burn over 500 calories per hour, even if you are not a competitive swimmer. 

The butterfly stroke burns the most calories, as it uses the entire body and is a high-intensity exercise. You could burn 600 to 900 calories by doing butterfly laps for an hour!

While different strokes will burn different amounts of calories, keeping a vigorous pace while doing your laps will quickly have you burning between 600 – 800 calories per hour. 

Not only is swimming a great calorie burner, but it’s also one of the top sports for increasing your life expectancy!

Calories Burned Per Hour By Rowing 

Rowing is another excellent sport that burns many calories per hour and works an astonishing 85% of your muscles. A bonus is that most gyms will have ready-to-use rowing machines (either magnetic or air powered), so there’s no need to go out and find a boat and a lake.

As usual, the amount of calories you can burn in a single hour depends on your total body weight and the intensity of your workout. A standard workout using a rowing machine in a gym or home can burn between 400 – 650 calories per hour. 

You can increase the number of calories burnt by increasing the intensity of your workout. For an average person, rowing at the power of 200 watts can burn an impressive 800 – 1100 calories per hour.

Rowing also utilizes more muscles than running, which means you can build muscle mass faster, ensuring you burn more calories even after working out. 

Calories Burned Per Hour With Kickboxing 

Kickboxing workout

Kickboxing is the sport for you if you’re looking to spice up your exercise routine while still burning many calories per hour. 

Kickboxing can burn an astonishing 900 calories per hour. Someone weighing 125lbs can burn around 600 calories in a one-hour kickboxing session. Weight plays a significant role in the number of calories burnt, as a person who weighs 185lbs could burn 900 calories in the same session. 

It is worth noting that some classes only hold sessions of 30 – 45 minutes, so you will need to look at the timeframe before signing up if an hour of exercise is what you’re looking for.

How To Calculate Calories Burned From A Workout 

Many people fall into the trap of over-calculating the calories they have burned in a typical workout – this leads to over-eating after a workout, which can be detrimental to your weight loss journey.

Some fitness experts even recommend knocking off 100 calories from your total amount burned just to be on the safe side. 

To calculate the calories you have burned from a workout, you can simply use a calorie calculator like this one. Or, if you are walking or running, many step counter apps can track your distance and speed and automatically calculate the calories you have burned – like the Samsung health app.

However, the best way to track your calories across a wide range of workouts is by investing in a fitness watch, like an Apple Watch or a Garmin (see how they compare here). These activity trackers monitor your heart rate, oxygen levels, and steps or miles when running or cycling. 

Fitness trackers are an excellent way to ensure you stay in shape and correctly calculate the number of calories you have burned in an hour, and they help keep you motivated during your workouts.

Here are two of the most popular fitness watches for calculating calories burned:

Fitbit Charge 5 – The Fitbit Charge 5 is an excellent fitness tracker that not only calculates the number of calories you have burned in a workout but also monitors your heart rate and oxygen levels simultaneously. This watch is so intelligent that it will monitor your sleep and let you know if your body is ready for a more intense or relaxed workout that day.

Apple Watch – Apple watches are great fitness trackers that will help you see how many calories you have burned in an hour. They have a wide range of workout types and waterproof watches for those who like to swim.

Our Verdict on Calorie Burning Sports

Most types of sports burn a significant amount of energy.

However, there are a few that can boost your weight loss by burning more calories per hour of exercise.

Running is notorious for burning the highest amount of calories (500 – 900 per hour), but cycling, swimming, rowing, and kickboxing are great alternatives that can burn over 500 calories an hour. 

Author Profile

Alex Randall

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Alex is the editor at Revel Sports. It was his idea to take our post-club-run chats and build a website out of them. He is responsible for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s when any of us have something to post. (Basically: it’s all his fault). A ferocious 5K powerhouse on his day, Alex is known for not understanding the meaning of the term ‘negative split‘.
Alex Randall

Revel SPorts Contributor

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