What Sport Burns the Most Calories Per Hour?

Swimming is a great way to burn a lot of calories.
Image Credit: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images

To lose weight and stay in shape, it is important to burn more calories than you consume. Running and cycling top the list of sports that burn the most calories.


Exercise and sports can burn significant calories, but the actual number of calories you burn depends on your weight and physical capabilities, the sport or activity and intensity level.

Video of the Day

Video of the Day


Running and cycling top the list of sports activities that burn the most calories.

Read more:10 Types of Low-Impact Exercise That Keep You Fit and Injury-Free

Consider These Guidelines

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, healthy adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.

In addition, strength training that targets all major muscle groups should be performed at least twice per week. Participation in sports can be a fun and efficient way to help meet these guidelines.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, moderate-intensity effort is characterized by noticeably faster breathing and heart rate, but you are still able to have a conversation while participating.


Vigorous-intensity activities, which often include competitive sports, require a breathing rate that makes it too difficult to carry on a conversation.

1. Running and Cycling

Running statistics show a pace of 10 mph burns the most calories per hour, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Similarly, cycling statistics show biking at 20 mph is your best bet for calorie burn. A 185-pound person burns 1,466 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.

2. Swimming

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 statistics show doing laps at a vigorous pace 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.

3. Boxing

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 sparring with a partner. If you weigh more than 185 pounds, your calorie expenditure rises accordingly.

4. Team Sports

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 300 calories or more per hour include softball, baseball, squash, rowing and tennis.

Read more:Optimize Your Diet to Improve Endurance and Crush Your Fitness Goals

5. Winter Sports

Popular winter sports and activities that burn a high number of calories include skiing and snow shoeing. Cross-country skiing and ice skating can burn 420 to 622 calories per hour, depending on intensity level.


A variety of other sports, such as rock climbing, water polo, handball, scuba diving, wrestling, kayaking and archery, also burn a significant amount of calories, according to Harvard Health Publishing.