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How many calories do we burn in 30 minutes of physical activity?

Many of you have been asking me this question, which is totally justified coming from people involved in a weight loss process. First of all, it’s important to understand that the energy expenditure (calories burned) of a 30 minutes period is not the same for all the different exercises and activities of daily life.

These variations are influenced by many factors:

  • The intensity of the effort required to perform the activity.
  • Body weight; the heavier we are, the harder it becomes to move, meaning that the physical effort will require more energy.
  • The size and quantity of the muscles involved in the effort; an activity that uses the lower limbs (legs) will require more energy than an activity that uses only the upper limbs.
  • The environment in which the activity takes place. For example, riding a bike at 30 km/h against the wind is harder than with the wind blowing on your back. In addition, running outdoors is harder than running on a treadmill at the same speed.

How do I know how many calories I have burned?

There are many methods of estimating the energy expenditure related to physical activities, but the accuracy of the different measuring devices available on the market can vary widely and can differ from reality. As an example, elliptical trainers generally overestimate the energy expenditure by a wide margin. In addition, cardiofrequencemeters devices that estimate energy expenditure by using the heart rate during exercise also have a certain margin of error.

For example, let’s take 2 individuals of the same age and weight, with an identical maximum heart rate. Make them run in order to get their heart rates at 160 beats per minute. The first participant runs at 8 km/h and the second at 15 km/h. It is easy to understand that the energy expenditure will not be the same, but the cardiofrequencemeter will not be able to establish this difference. However, despite the relative accuracy of these devices, their results remain constant – they always calculate the same way, so if for the same amount of time, the device you are using says that you have burned 50 more calories, it means that you worked harder than last time.

List of activities and their respective calories spent

To help guide you in the evaluation of the energy expenditure of your activities, I have put up a list for you of popular physical and athletic activities based on 59 kg (130 lb) and 75 kg (165 lb) persons, which represent the average size of a woman and a man. Please note that sex does not affect energy expenditure. These estimates are extracted from the Compendium of Physical Activities, which is the most often used scientific source in the field of bioenergetics.

You also have a nice summary in this article of the Top 5 Activities to Increase Energy Expenditure.

For 30 minutes of exercice

Activity

59 kg (130 lb)

person

75 kg (165 lb)

person

Moderate intensity bodybuilding

95 kcal

120 kcal

Moderate intensity stationary bike (150 watts)

220 kcal

275 kcal

Moderate intensity outdoors cycling (20 km/h)

250 kcal

315 kcal

Running on a treadmill at 10 km/h

295 kcal

375 kcal

Running outdoors at 10 km/h

310 kcal

394 kcal

Moderate intensity elliptical trainer

155 kcal

200 kcal

Moderate intensity Stair Master

280 kcal

355 kcal

Moderate intensity roller skating

305 kcal

385 kcal

A round of golf, walking and pulling clubs (18 holes)

660 kcal

835 kcal

Brisk walking at 6,4 km/h

135 kcal

170 kcal

These estimates give you a good indication? Here are 10 ways to burn more calories!

Sportingly,

Author
Martin Lacharité


How many calories do we burn in 30 minutes of physical activity? is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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