It is the question almost everyone has asked once in his or her life. How many calories will I burn when I do X, Y, and Z?
Those trying to lose weight know that calories play a major part in their results. It is true that for weight loss to happen a slight energy imbalance needs to exist. An energy imbalance means that the calories in do not match the calories out. For weight loss, you want to burn a little more than you consume each day. If you wish to gain weight or muscle, you should be eating a bit more than you burn. The difference should not be large, but it should be present.
An easy way to discover how many calories certain activities burn would be to purchase an activity tracker. Some of the fancier trackers show how much energy you are using and thus calories burn. This number is usually based on your heart rate and size, and it is usually pretty accurate.
But not everyone can afford that sort of technology. Not everyone needs it either.
Below is a little cheat sheet for how many calories an average person will burn in an hour during common activities:
Automobile repair: 211 calories
Bowling: 211 calories
General house cleaning: 246 calories
Walking the dog: 246 calories
Paddleboat: 281 calories
General dancing: 317 calories
Stationary bicycle: 352 calories
Gardening: 352 calories
Carrying golf clubs: 387 calories
High-impact aerobics: 493 calories
Running at a moderate pace: 563 calories
Kickboxing: 704 calories
These numbers are for an average 155 lb adult. Obviously if you weigh more or less the numbers will be slightly different. Those weighing above 155 lbs will have a higher calorie burn because it takes more energy to complete these tasks. The individuals who weigh less will burn fewer calories.
Keep in mind that calorie burn is directly related to the amount of effort that is being put out. You will see a wide range of calorie burn from individuals of the same size when playing a sport because it is so dependent on how hard each person is working. For example, the players giving it their all in an NFL playoff game will likely burn much more calories than those taking part in a friendly neighborhood round of touch football.
No matter what, I want you all to remember that calories are just a number, and you never want to get fixated with a number. Just as putting all of your focus on the number on your scale can be unhealthy, so can focusing on calories. It is hard to control the number on your scale. It is also hard to calculate calories in and calories out. It’s good to have an idea of both, but obsessing over the fine details is unnecessary and can lead to unhealthy habits.