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How Many Calories Do I Burn?

A handy guide to fitness and calorie burning

As a fitness instructor and enthusiast, I know there are dozens of ways to exercise and each one may challenge your body a little differently, from building muscle to increasing endurance. But almost all forms of exercise burn calories, too. Just how many? Use our handy guide to get an idea of how many calories you’re likely to burn with six popular styles of exercise, taking into consideration how much you weigh and the intensity at which you work. All calorie-burn estimates are based on The Calorie Control Council calculations. It is important to check in with your diabetes care team before starting an exercise routine.

 Yoga, Pilates & other Low-Impact Workouts

Burning calories with yoga and Pilates

Exercise doesn’t have to feel like hard-core working out. Fitness styles such as yoga and Pilates, and even stretching, may help you move toward your exercise goals without leaving you feeling depleted or worn out. As you build strength and increase flexibility, work within your limits and at your own pace. Listen to your body and take breaks whenever you need to – whether you’re in a class, following a DVD, or exercising on your own. (Learn more about getting started with low impact exercise here.)

Calories Burned:

Numbers based on body weight and intensity, calculated for 30 minutes of activity:

 Body Weight Yoga / Tai Chi  Pilates
140 pounds 127 calories 191 calories
200 pounds 182 calories 273 calories
250 pounds 227 calories 341 calories

The DX Lowdown: If you haven’t exercised in a while, these styles of movement may help you strengthen the connection between your mind and body. Of course, not all classes or DVDs are equal –if you’re a beginner, stick with beginner classes; as you progress you’ll likely be able to hold poses for longer and may have an easier time in an open-level class.

Biking

Burning calories biking A lot of people learn to ride bicycles as children, but it’s still not too late to learn or rediscover the fun! Biking outdoors is a fun way to run errands and it’s also an easy way to explore. Depending on the style of bicycle you have, you can cruise around town, pedal down country roads, or – with a little practice – perhaps try some trails. (Read about Scott Johnson’s love affair with biking here.)

Calories Burned:

Numbers based on body weight and intensity, calculated for 30 minutes of activity:

 Body Weight Low/moderate intensity
(Less than 10 mph)
Moderate/high intensity(12-13.9 mph)
140 pounds 127 calories 255 calories
200 pounds 182 calories 364 calories
250 pounds 227 calories 455 calories

The DX Lowdown: You need a bicycle to bike, so if it’s been a while since you’ve ridden, you might want to borrow a friend’s or rent one to be sure it’s worth the investment. Remember, safety first: wear a helmet, outfit your bike with lights, and know and follow the rules of the road.

Dancing

How many calories do you burn dancing?You don’t need rhythm to dance but you probably want music! Choose tunes that make you want to move, and then press “play.” Dance around your house as you tidy up, get ready for work or unwind in your living room. Or, sign up for a dance class. Partner classes such as salsa or swing can be good for singles or couples, and styles like hip-hop and Zumba® are taught at most gyms. (Learn more about dancing for fun and fitness here.)

Calories Burned:

Numbers based on body weight and intensity, calculated for 30 minutes of activity:

Body Weight Low/moderate intensity Moderate/high intensity
140 pounds 95 calories 175 calories
200 pounds 136 calories 250 calories
250 pounds 170 calories 313 calories

The DX Lowdown: Dancing is a fun way to exercise and the faster and “bigger” you move, the more burn you get. Just be sure to dance in a large, open space – you don’t want to run into the furniture! If you want a structured routine but aren’t interested in taking a class, consider using a dance workout DVD.

Strength Training

Strength training calories burnedLifting weights. Resistance training. Pumping iron. No matter what you call it; weight training can be a popular option at the gym. Whether you use free weights or machines, you can target all of your major muscle groups, and help sculpt a stronger body. Plus, building muscle mass is an easy way to burn extra calories: the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn all day long, even when you’re not exercising. (Read more about strength training and diabetes here.)

Calories Burned:

Numbers based on body weight and intensity, calculated for 30 minutes of activity:

 Body Weight  Weightlifting
140 pounds 95 calories
200 pounds 136 calories
250 pounds 170 calories

The DX Lowdown: There are many different ways to lift weights and resistance train, but just “doing your own thing” may not be the best approach. I encourage you to consider meeting with a personal trainer or taking a group class (classes often have words like “pump” or “sculpt” in the title) to learn and practice exercises. Once you get the hang of using weights, then it may be easier to train on your own.

 Walking

walking calories burnedWalking for exercise is one of my favorite ways to boost calorie burn, and it’s an easy activity to make more social: Just ask a friend, family member or neighbor to join you on a walk. Before you know it you’ll have covered some serious ground! (Learn more about walking as a “prescription” for better health here.)

Calories Burned:

Numbers based on body weight and intensity; calculated for 30 minutes of activity:

 Body Weight Low/moderate intensity
(slowly)
Moderate/high intensity
(briskly)
140 pounds 111 calories 127 calories
200 pounds 159 calories 182 calories
250 pounds 199 calories 227 calories

The DX Lowdown: You can walk pretty much anywhere – around a park, through your neighborhood, at a local mall or even on a treadmill. Just be sure to wear supportive, cushioned sneakers to help protect your feet and knees. If you’re curious about how far you go, invest in a pedometer or fitness tracker.

Swimming

Burning calories while swimming Most kids love splashing around in the water but swimming can be a great exercise for adults too. On a typical day at the pool, I see all sorts of exercisers, from serious swimmers doing fast, nonstop laps to people going at a more leisurely pace, alternating strokes and taking regular breaks. (Get more tips for exercising in the water here.)

Calories Burned:

Numbers based on body weight and intensity, calculated for 30 minutes of activity:

 Body Weight  Swimming
140 pounds 191 calories
200 pounds 273 calories
250 pounds 341 calories

The DX Lowdown: Swimming may be a great fit for anyone looking for a low-impact way to do aerobic exercise and burn calories. Of course, you’ll need access to a pool. (If you visit an outdoor one, don’t forget sunscreen!)

Jessica Cassity is a health reporter for SELF, Fitness, and Shape magazines, and the author of Better Each Day: 365 Expert Tips for a Healthier, Happier You. She is a Portland-based Pilates and yoga teacher and blogs at thehappyandhealthyblog.com. Cassity is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor and interviewee, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

 © 2014 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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