The calorie burning chart below details how many calories you burn per hour doing various activities. Since 3500 calories equal 1 pound of fat, you need to burn 3500 more calories than you take in to lose a pound.
Health experts classify “healthy weight loss” as 1-2 pounds per week. This means that you either need to reduce your calorie intake by 500-1000 calories/day, burn 500-1000 extra calories a day, or a combination of both. I recommend the third option.
But before we look at the calorie burning chart below, let’s make sure you understand what calorie are and what role they play in your body.
What are calories?
Calories are units of energy used to measure the foods we eat. The three main types of nutrients have the following number of calories per gram:
- Carbohydrates: 4 calories/gram
- Protein: 4 calories/gram
- Fat: 9 calories/gram
Your body burns calories to provide energy to support three vital functions:
1) Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
BMR is the amount of calories you burn “at rest” (i.e., sleeping). BMR accounts for around 60% of the calories burned each day for the average person.
2) Physical Activity to Burn Calories
These are calories burned by doing activities that require movement. This could be anything from walking to the refrigerator to doing dishes to working out. On average, people burn about 30% of their daily calories by doing physical activity.
3) Diet Thermogenesis
Thermogenesis is the process by which the body generates heat, or energy, by increasing the metabolic rate above normal. A simpler way of explaining thermogenesis is the calories your body burns eating, digesting, absorbing and using food.
How many calories do I need?
That depends on several factors, including your age, size, height, weight, sex, lifestyle, and health goals.
Here’s a calorie calculator from the American Cancer Society that will help you determine your daily caloric needs.
Read more about calories on my how to count calories page.
Calorie burning chart
The following calorie burning chart shows some different activities and how many calories you burn while doing them. Note that this table gives estimates for a 155 pound person. The actual number of calories you burn may be slightly higher or lower, depending on your body composition and activity level). But, this calorie burning chart will give you a good general idea of how many calories you can expect to burn. Here ’tis:
|Activity||Calories Burned per Hour|
|Sitting at computer||102|
|Doing light household chores||95|
|Standing in line||100|
|Playing with your dog||115|
|Playing with kids (not rigorous)||120|
|Lifting weights (light)||224|
|Golfing (riding in cart)||260|
|Lifting weights (vigorous)||446|
|Mowing the lawn||410|
|Golfing (walking w/ bag)||410|
|Walking (4.5 mph)||372|
|Cross country skiing||500|
|Step aerobics (light impact)||520|
|Biking (fast pace)||530|
|Circuit weight training||540|
|Cross country skiing||600|
|Running (5 mph)||600|
|Step aerobics (heavy impact)||744|
|Running (7.5 mph)||940|
|Bicycling (> 20 mph)||1220|
Source: July 2004 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter
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 DHHS, AIM for a Healthy Weight, page 5. Available online: