Most folks engage in sports as a more constructive way for them to channel their competitiveness in a more positive manner while also enhancing their mental sharpness. While the number of calories burned in these sports activities is not the sole measure of the sport’s overall value, they do provide an idea of how well you are working out. Sports should never be confused with other physical activities such as performing squats on squat racks or even doing several reps on the bench press, however. Sports are those activities wherein one person competes against another or another team often for glory or for entertainment purposes. As such, when we talk about the top 10 sports that can help you burn the most calories, then you should focus more on competitive physical activities.
1. Running – 900 to 1500 calories per hour
Get ready with your running shoes as running is one of the top 10 sports that can let you burn as much as 1500 calories per hour. This depends on a number of factors including the average sustained speed and the presence of any resistance to the run. For example, running 8 MPH on an otherwise flat terrain can net you about 900 calories burned on the average. But if you try sustaining the same speed going uphill, your leg muscles will be forced to work a little harder, allowing you to burn as much as 1,200 calories an hour.
A seasoned marathoner can sustain up to 12 MPH, netting a calorie burn that is equivalent to roughly 1,400. Having said that, it is not really surprising why many marathoners, triathletes, and even sprinters train by running on treadmill since this can help simulate inclined terrains of up to 15 degrees. The increase in cardiovascular performance also increases metabolism which, in turn, requires the burning of more calories so that the contractions of the leg muscles can be sustained.
2. Soccer – 900 to 1400 calories per hour
Have you seen a game of soccer? Were you able to see a player that was a bit fat? Compared to players in American Football especially the linemen, you will never see fat guys running the entire 100- to 130-yard length of the pitch. In a true game of soccer, you really have to run even when you don’t have the ball. But, unlike running where you blitz in a relatively straight path, soccer involves exceptional agility and defending skills.
Professional footballers can run a straight line before coming to an abrupt stop only to sidestep and aim for the goal. The combination of running, sudden shifts in weight, and the power to kick the ball over or around defenders so that it hits the net unimpeded can net you almost the same amount of calorie burn as running. The point here, of course, is you’ve got to really run the field and pretend as if you have the ball with you.
3. Martial Arts – 700 to 1,100 calories per hour
You may not know it but karate, taekwondo, jujitsu, and other martial arts are just some of the best yet lesser known sports that can net you a calorie burn that exceeds 1,000 per hour. Most folks don’t look at martial arts as a good way to lose weight, but have you imagined a really fat Bruce Lee or perhaps even a Jet Li? Of course, there are martial artists who are naturally fat like Samo Hung and the can still perform those moves.
The thing is that with really quick moves combined with optimum joint flexibility, martial arts can demand tremendous amounts of calories per session. You don’t even have to learn martial arts just so you can grapple or fight someone. The many health benefits of martial arts go well beyond mere calorie burn.
4. Boxing – 700 to 900 calories per hour
This sport demands an excellent combination of raw power, speed, and lightning-quick reflexes. The power to punch with a gloved hand and knock down an opponent requires really strong muscles that can only be achieved by lifting weights and other forms of resistance training. Flexibility and reflexes are also a must as one should be able to get out of a situation wherein he is already pushed in a corner.
No wonder boxing ranks highly in the sports that can burn the most calories. Building muscles is one of the key components to effective boxing. More importantly, however, is one’s endurance or staying power. One has to last several rounds of intense blows, ducks, and fancy footwork to get the job done.
5. Rugby Football – 600 to 900 calories per hour
Just like soccer, playing rugby requires remarkable stamina to last the entire game. More importantly, however, is the building and strengthening of the muscles as you have to get ready to tackle and be tackled in return. A friendly game of rugby should burn at least 600 calories. But for those in really intense competitions, it can net you close to a thousand calories per hour.
The sport combines a sprinter’s run, a soccer player’s fancy footwork, and a wrestler’s remarkable strength. When you compare the physique of rugby players to that of soccer players, the former have more muscular, bulkier physique owing to the fact that they have to be strong to survive the onslaught of oncoming opponents.
6. Tennis – 400 to 800 calories per hour
If you’re just having fun playing tennis with your best buddy or even a friendly match with your officemate, you’ll be burning about 400 calories or so every hour. But, this usually means shuttling from one side of the backcourt to the other and then sprinting towards the net for a save or even dashing at the baseline for a return.
Professional tennis players can easily burn close to a thousand calories per hour. The leg muscles will be burning because of the constant sprinting and shifting of movements just to return the ball. The arms will be hard-pressed at work, too, as you have to serve an ultra-fast one that can only be achieved if you’ve got power in your serving arm.
7. Rowing – 600 to 800 calories per hour
How can rowing burn more calories than you can possibly imagine? Well, it has something to do with the strength that you need to build in your arms and your torso. You see, competitive rowing requires powerful, rhythmic strokes of the paddle so you will go in-sync with your teammate. This is not a sport where you can paddle as fast and powerful as you want. You’ve got to synchronize your arm and body movements with that of your fellow rowers.
Professional rowers can burn up to 800 calories per hour. The calorie burn comes from the muscles of the arms and the lower back as well as the legs as you use the lower limb muscles to generate an upward force that can be transmitted to your upper body.
8. Swimming – 600 to 700 calories per hour
We’re talking about competitive swimming here, of course, and not the kind of swimming that you perform while having fun at the beach or in your backyard pool. Depending on the style of swim that you are going to engage in, you can be burning anywhere from 600 to 700 calories per hour.
For example, a 130-lb individual doing a really fast freestyle can burn about 590 calories but only 413 calories using the backstroke. If he swims the breaststroke, then he can burn about 590 calories as well. The same individual can burn as much as 650 calories per hour if he does the butterfly. Of course, the heavier you are, the more calories that you eventually burn.
9. Basketball – 600 to 800 calories per hour
Even a game of street basketball can help you burn calories a lot faster than other types of sports. Of course, the key here is constant movement even if the ball is not with you. Depending on the tempo of the game, you can easily burn 600 to 800 calories.
The sport involves strength and flexibility of the arms and legs plus the suppleness of the body to make quick drives to the hoop or to create a passing lane for a teammate to score. Besides, it’s fun.
10. Cycling – 500 to 700 calories per hour
If you’ve got what it takes to become the next champion in the upcoming Tour de France, then you’ve really got to put cycling in your list of the best sports that can burn the most calories. Even a simple sprint can already net you 500 to 600 calories. Try revving it up some more and you can get up to 700 calories per hour.
Cycling not only relies on powerful leg muscles, but also on a strong and stable core. You’ve got to keep your balance while pedaling your bicycle, navigating a steep climb before rushing downhill. It’s like running, except that you’re going a lot faster.
Sports are always a great way to burn calories since it is all a part of the game. However, there are certain sports that burn more calories than others. If one of your goals for engaging in sports is to shed a few pounds, then these 10 sports should help you.