The 6 Best Activities for Calorie Burn

High-intensity exercises burn more calories per minute than other exercises. Discover the 6 best calorie-burning exercises to hit your health goals.

When you want to burn calories, all workouts are not created equal. Higher-intensity exercises that engage more muscles generally burn the most calories. Fortunately, you can explore workouts to fit any lifestyle and time constraints. From cardio activities to home-based workouts that don’t need special equipment, discover the following six of best high-calorie burn activities.


Swimming puts your body to work, and it’s a great exercise for burning calories. In fact, swimming is one of the best choices if you want a cardio exercise that offers the most caloric burn. You put your legs to work by kicking, and your arms help you to complete each stroke. Even your core works hard when you swim, contracting to help you stay afloat. All that muscle recruitment burns calories, and you can see the results when you use a calories-burned calculator.

The type of swimming you choose can also make a difference. The butterfly, for example, burns more calories than the breast stroke. Swimming in the ocean against the current creates a workout that’s more intense than your average pool.

Cross-Country Skiing

If the weather rules out outdoor swimming, a winter sport powerhouse exists for calorie burning. Cross-country skiing is a great way to get outside and burn calories. Skiing is automatically an intense workout since your body moves over the ground while you go. In that sense, the movement is much like running.

But cross-country skiing adds another factor: your arms. In addition to moving your legs along with the skis, you use your arms to move the poles. If you add an uphill climb to your route, you’ll burn even more calories, as you’re further boosting your rate of energy expenditure.

Tabata Training

When it comes to high-calorie burn activities, taking workouts you know and doing them Tabata-style gets a big caloric burn rate for your buck. Tabata training is a style of working out that uses high-intensity training as a way to burn a large amount of calories in a short time. You do 20 seconds of working out at your all-out, top pace, and follow up with 10 seconds of recovery. Then, you repeat the sequence — eight times.

While the first round may be easy, you’ll certainly feel the burn by the end. A typical workout in this style includes four exercises, such as squats, pushups, burpees, and jumping rope. The great part about Tabata training is that not only does it burn a lot of calories, but it’s also easy to adapt to fit whatever limited amount of time you have to work out. Even if you can’t get to the gym, you can grab 30 minutes and amp up your favorite at-home workouts.

Jumping Rope

Speaking of easy do-it-yourself workouts, jumping rope is another one that burns many calories without requiring too much equipment. You may have heard of this simple activity as a favorite among professional athletes. Boost your calorie burn rate even more. By switching up the speed at which you jump throughout the workout and changing your style of jumping — think slow to fast or jumping with both feet and then switching to one — you’ll increase the intensity of your workout. You can also jump rope while jogging to maximize the effects.

Make the most of your jumping by staying in form while you go. You should keep your body upright and do each jump with your feet placed slightly apart. Don’t aim for the ceiling; low jumps are better form. Choosing the right rope also helps you reach your calorie-burning goals. An ideal rope has handles that will hit slightly beneath your armpits if you’re standing on the middle of the rope. But you can get the benefits of burning calories even without a rope — do the movements as if you had one.


We can’t ignore a discussion about burpees. When done right, this full-body exercise is a surefire way to burn a significant amount of calories at one time. Although doing one is not considerably difficult, doing burpees continuously brings together all the key components of what you need to burn calories. You have resistance, you have intensity, and you use muscles across your body. Your calorie counter calculator will show you the impressive results.

To do a burpee, squat down, then kick out your feet into a pushup position. From this position, do a pushup before jumping your feet to your hands. Think you’re done? It’s time to jump up, reaching your hands above your head. Then repeat again and again.

Doing burpees continuously is the best way to burn as many calories as possible. You can also break up the burpees by mixing in another activity. Try doing this activity mixing with jumping rope or jogging to keep up the activities burn rate.

Resistance Additions to Your Workouts

Adding some resistance into the mix to increase the calorie burn of your favorite exercise activity. If running or biking is your go-to workout, make your exercising do even more work for you by changing the route you take for increased resistance. In other words, look for some hills.

Hill workouts significantly increase the calorie burn of your typical jog or bike path. Going up a steep hill recruits more muscle fibers, which can lead to you burning more calories. While moving along a flat surface is good, each degree of incline you add makes employing those muscle fibers much better. Next time you’re plotting your run or bicycle route, look for a way to go that brings you across as many hills and inclines as possible in order to fire up your glutes and get those calories burning. The more intensity you bring to your workout — which you can certainly get with the resistance hills provide — the more calories you’ll burn overall.

Even if you don’t have much time to exercise, if you go hard on the intensity level and engage as many muscles as possible, you’ll still burn plenty of calories. The six go-to activities listed above can help you achieve the calorie burn you need.

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