Posted on: March 24, 2017 at 3:18 pm
Last updated: May 7, 2018 at 12:25 pm

What Does it Mean to Burn Calories?


When you exercise, your body does not use the calories that are in your stored fat as energy. Rather, the body is first using the carbohydrates in your system. Basically, carbohydrates can only be stored in limited quantities.

Therefore, the body is eager to use them as energy, and that’s why they are the first to go as opposed to the stored fat. Carbohydrates are also known as macro-nutrients, and this is the way the body obtains energy or calories.


In order for your body to burn stored fat, you need oxygen, and to get that oxygen you need to keep your heart rate in your target zone. The target zone differs from person to person- you can determine your target zone by using this calculator.

What Cardio Exercises Burn the Most Calories?

what cardio exercises burn the most calories

The following are 15 scientifically proven calorie burning workouts to help boost your heart rate and put your body into that famous fat-burning zone. If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll love these forms of exercise!

1. Fast-paced running

For many, running at a fast speed for a long period can be challenging, require a lot of energy, and spike your heart rate. Try adding this to your daily routine by doing it in intervals. Start off by doing sprints for 10-20 seconds and then jog or walk for 60 seconds. Keep repeating until you’ve had enough.


2. Jumping Rope

According to fitness expert Chris Ryan, jumping rope can burn an average of 1074 calories per hour. Even jumping rope for a couple of minutes can get your heart racing. For maximum results, do this exercise in intervals; jump rope for a specified number of reps, then walk around for 60 seconds, then repeat reps. (To learn more about interval training, check this out).

3. Taekwondo

For people living in North America, Taekwondo is one of those forms of exercise that’s unlike others! This exercise emphasizes speed, power, reaction and force; according to Ryan, if you take fewer breaks and go directly to each movement, you’re more likely to burn more calories and lose more weight.

4. Swimming

Swimming is a serious calorie burning activity, and if you swim with high intensity you can burn an average of 890 calories per hour. According to Ryan, your body also burns calories just by trying to keep you warm due to the pool’s water temperature. You can add different kinds of strokes to your routine to keep it fun, such as breaststrokes and backstrokes. Just click here for a detailed swimming routine.

5. Running up stairs

Running up stairs elevates the heart rate while the heart and lungs pump more blood and oxygen, resulting in a higher caloric burn than doing the same distance on flat ground.

6. Jogging

This is a full-body movement; running works all muscle groups and challenges your cardiovascular system. You can burn an average of 755 calories per hour at a relaxed speed according to Ryan. Although this may seem similar to number one, jogging is more relaxed, almost like a fast-paced walk, whereas number one would be considered a HIIT (high-intensity interval training).

7. Tennis

Due to the amount of fast-paced spurts of running and body movement required, you are constantly challenging your mind and body to move along with the unpredictable ball. Doing this for just 30 minutes can burn an average of 360 calories. (That’s 720 calories per hour!) You’re also guaranteed to get your heart rate going.

8. Rollerblading

Rollerblading combines cardio and strength training without too much stress on the joints. It’s a great way to burn an average of 680 calories per hour. To keep it light and fun, you can treat rollerblading as a low to moderate intensity exercise that makes your weight loss journey enjoyable.

9. High-impact aerobics

High-impact aerobics challenges your body and muscles to contract and release in a fast and controlled manner. Forms of exercise like this one are a great way to burn calories and tone all your muscle groups. Get the most out of this exercise by doing it for 20-30 minutes. Take a look at the following video for a more in-depth look at a high impact aerobics routine:


10. Racquetball

Because you are in a very small room, you are constantly cutting, running, jumping, and lunging to get the ball! This calorie burning sport keeps your heart rate high and is a great way to challenge your mental strength. What more is that, depending on who you’re playing with, racquetball can be a high, low, or even moderate intensity exercise.

11. Burpees

If something’s going to increase your heart rate, it’s burpees. They are a great way to challenge all your muscle groups and get your heart pumping. Watch this 2-minute video to properly execute a burpee:


12. Rowing

Rowing uses nine major muscle groups, including the hamstrings, quads, glutes, core, lats, shoulders, back, triceps and biceps; this exercise is one of the most popular and biggest and best calorie burning exercises.

13. Tabata training

For anyone who prefers doing a low to moderate intensity exercise, you may want to read on. Tabata is a calorie burning, high intensity exercise that can almost guarantee weight loss in a short amount of time. This exercise consists of doing 20 seconds of intense work, then taking 10 seconds of recovery. Repeat this 8 times. Trust us, a solid tabata workout will make you want to exercise for 30 minutes. Click here for a better understating on Tabata.

14. Weightlifting

Some forms of exercise aren’t for everyone, but here us out! After a weightlifting workout, your muscle groups need energy to repair their fibres, therefore they take the energy from your calories. Studies have shown that you burn an average of 2x the calories weightlifting than other cardio exercises. While this isn’t the best workout for weight loss, what you lose in fat, you’ll gain muscle! Read this article for more information on the benefits of weightlifting.

15. Cycling (or Using a Stationary Bike)

Whether it’s speed cycling or moderate intensity slow cycling, this calorie burning exercise provides a workout  for your heart, lungs and blood vessels. Doing a slow cycling workout can burn an average of 364 calories per hour. If you don’t have a road bike, using a stationary bike is a great start! It only takes a low to moderate intensity and about 30 minutes to reap the benefits of cycling.

With any kind of cardio exercises or workout routine, you need to start off at a comfortable pace and then work your way up from there. In time,  you’ll discover which calorie burning techniques work best for your body. For the best results, incorporate one or more of these exercises in your daily routine.

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.


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Does Burning Calories Mean Burning Fat? (2017, January 10). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from

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  • Sinrich, J. (2017, March 08). 15 Workouts That Burn the Most Calories, According to Science.

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  • The Greatist Team. (2015, November 23). The 15-Minute At-Home Tabata Workout. Retrieved

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  • Yeager, S. (2013, December 17). Best Swimming Workout: Lose Body Fat in the Pool. Retrieved

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