Burning calories is often a focal point of weight loss efforts. People go to great lengths to burn more calories, but they might be surprised to learn how many they can burn performing relatively routine physical activities.
Men and women also may be surprised to learn that they burn calories differently from one another. According to the Mayo Clinic, men usually have less body fat and more muscle than women of the same age and weight. As a result, men typically burn more calories than women, though body size and composition also affects how many calories a person will burn while performing a given activity. For example, a man who is larger and has more muscle than another man his age will burn more calories, even if both men perform the same activity with the same level of intensity.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture cites the following calorie-burning figures for a 154-pound, 5’10” man who performs certain physical activities. Women likely won’t burn as many calories performing these activities, but each activity can still be an effective way for men and women to burn more calories.
Walking (3.5 miles per hour): In 30 minutes, a man can expect to burn 140 calories. A man who walks 4.5 miles per hour will burn approximately 230 calories. The online health resource Healthline.com notes that a 125-pound person may burn roughly 150 calories walking for 30 minutes at 4.5 miles per hour.
Hiking: A man will burn roughly 185 calories in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity hiking. Women won’t burn as many calories, but both moderate and vigorous hiking are great ways to burn calories regardless of a person’s gender.
Light gardening/yard work: A man will burn approximately 165 calories in 30 minutes performing light gardening/yard work, while he will burn roughly 220 calories performing more physically taxing yard work like chopping wood. A 125-pound person will burn roughly 135 calories after 30 minutes of light gardening.
Cycling: Men can burn roughly 145 calories cycling at 10 miles per hour or less for 30 minutes. That figure jumps to 295 calories when men ride at 10 miles per hour or faster. Healthline notes that a 125-pound person can burn roughly 210 calories in 30 minutes when riding between 12 and 13.9 miles per hour.
Playing with children: Play sessions with the kids can help both moms and dads burn calories. Healthline notes that a 155-pound person may burn 149 calories in 30 minutes of playing with kids at moderate intensity, while a 125-pound person will burn roughly 120 calories in the same time.
No two individuals are the same, so it can be hard for men and women to pinpoint just how many calories they burn performing popular physical activities. But there’s no denying that many of the activities adults engage in every day afford them ample opportunities to burn calories.