Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

What Sport Burns the Most Calories Per Hour?

author image Susan Diranian
Susan Diranian is a writer for various online publications and magazines, specializing in relationships, health, fashion, beauty and fitness. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in nonfiction writing and editing.
What Sport Burns the Most Calories Per Hour?
Team sports like football help burn considerable calories.

To lose weight and stay in shape, it is important to burn more calories than you consume. Exercise and sports can burn significant calories. The number of calories you burn depends on your weight and physical capabilities, the sport or activity and intensity level. While the minimum recommended aerobic exercise is 150 minutes per week, for optimal health benefits the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends five hours of moderately intense aerobic activity each week.

Video of the Day

Burning the Most Calories

Couple bicycling on nature trail
Couple bicycling on nature trail Photo Credit: Warren Goldswain/iStock/Getty Images

Running at 10 mph and bicycling at more than 20 mph burns the most calories per hour. According to the Harvard Heart Letter, a 185-pound person burns 1466 calories, while a 125-pound person burns 990 calories per hour. Running and bicycling at a slower pace burns fewer calories per hour. A running pace of 5 mph burns between 480 and 710 calories, depending on your weight. A similar number of calories are burned when bicycling at 12 to 13.9 mph.


Woman swimming laps in pool
Woman swimming laps in pool Photo Credit: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images

Whether for fun or competition, swimming is another sport that burns considerable calories. The butterfly stroke may burn between 660 and 976 calories an hour, depending on your weight and physical capabilities. Swimming laps can burn between 600 and 888 calories per hour. Different strokes work various muscles and burn different amounts of calories. Other swimming strokes that burn a significant number of calories include the backstroke and breaststroke.


Boxers sparring in ring
Boxers sparring in ring Photo Credit: Piotr Sikora/iStock/Getty Images

Boxing is an intense workout, requiring constant motion and quick bursts of energy as you spar with a partner or participate in a match. Depending on your physical condition and weight, you may burn between 540 and 800 calories per hour. If you weigh more than 185 pounds, your calorie expenditure rises accordingly.

Team Sports

Two men playing basketball
Two men playing basketball Photo Credit: Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

One hour of playing basketball or touch football burns 480 to 710 calories or more, depending on your weight, physical capabilities and intensity level. An intense soccer game may burn between 420 and 622 calories per hour. Other team and individual sports that burn 500 calories or more an hour include softball, baseball, squash, rowing and tennis.

Winter Sports

Cross country skiiers
Cross country skiiers Photo Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Popular winter sports and activities that burn a high number of calories include skiing, snowboarding and sledding. According to FitSugar, cross-country skiing and ice skating can burn 436 to 544 calories per hour, depending on intensity level. Other calorie-burning winter sports include downhill skiing, ice hockey, snowshoeing and sledding.

Burn More Calories

Physician talking to patient
Physician talking to patient Photo Credit: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

Whichever sport you choose, apply moderate- to high-level intensity to burn the maximum number of calories. Moderately intensive exercise means you can talk while playing a sport. Vigorous exercise means you can't say more than a few words between breaths. According to the CDC, one minute spent on vigorous sports or activities is the same as two minutes at a moderately intense pace. Speak to your doctor to determine which sport or activity best suits your health and physical capabilities.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.



Demand Media