Exercises That Are Better Calorie Burners Than Running

Popular thinking goes that if you want to lose weight, you’ve got to strap on some running shoes and hit the road every morning (or at least a few times each week). But running is tough and it’s not for everyone – after all, it can be incredibly hard on our feet and joints. In fact, some people will be told by their doctors or personal trainers that running isn’t the best way to lose weight.

The good news is that there are several other ways to burn calories fast and safely. In fact, many of these exercises are more efficient than running…


1. Kettlebell Swings

You’ve probably seen kettlebells at the gym, but have you given them a try? Kettlebell swings can be performed in several ways, but the most popular is the two-handed swing. To do this, position the kettlebell between your legs while in a squat position. Then thrust the bell outwards while transitioning to a standing position.

You can burn more calories by upping your pace, increasing the weight of the kettlebell, and adding reps. Just be sure to ease yourself into this rather intense exercise.

Kettlebell Swings

2. Burpees

Burpees, like running, are intense. For someone weighing roughly 150 pounds, doing burpees for an hour can burn roughly 500 calories. That means you can burn lots of calories while taking it easy on your bones and joints.

Do perform a basic burpee, move from a standing position to a push up. Do the push up and then get back to the standing position. To burn even more calories, try doing a jump squat from the push up position.


3. Jumping Rope

Want to get your heart rate up in a jiffy, thereby helping you burn calories efficiently? Try jumping rope, one of the most intense calorie-burning activities. Not only will jumping rope help you lose weight, but it can also improve your coordination and balance.

The trick is to make sure you’re wearing properly fitted athletic shoes, have a rope that fits the size of your body, and make sure you have sufficient space to perform a normal skipping rope workout.

Jump Rope

4. Battle Ropes

Battle ropes are relatively new to the gym scene, but they’re certainly taking the world by storm. Chances are you’ve seen these ropes in commercials featuring world-class athletes.

Given that you can burn about 50 calories in roughly five minutes, it’s no surprise elite competitors use battle ropes to get in shape. The trick is to use battle ropes to train maximally for a short period of time and then rest. Just be sure you give yourself enough space to perform this exercise safely.

Battle Ropes

5. Walking with Weight Uphill

Many people who don’t yet feel comfortable about running opt to walk around the neighborhood instead. But walking burns only a fraction of the calories burned by running.

If you’re hesitant to run but want to burn calories, try loading up a backpack and heading for a hilly area. Studies show that adding weight can significantly increase the amount of calories you burn. For example, at 240 pounds one can burn 650 calories each hour by going uphill.

Walking with Weights

6. Dancing

We rarely associate the act of burning calories with actually having fun. But dancing can be a great way to burn calories quickly and efficiently.

The amount of calories burned depends on the type of dancing. For example, hip hop dancing typically burns about 370 calories in an hour, while salsa dancing can burn just over 400 calories during that amount of time. The key is to stay active on the dance floor.


7. Rock Climbing

There’s no denying that rock climbing is a great way to build muscle. But it’s also an excellent way to burn calories, with studies showing that a 155-pound individual can burn roughly 300 calories in just half an hour of rappelling while climbing.

Of course, it’s crucial to stay safe. If you’re new to rock climbing, try hitting up the nearest indoor climbing wall before going out into the wilderness. And talk to your doctor before trying this very intense calorie-burning activity.

Rock Climbing

8. Inline Skating

Hitting the ice for a skate is a great way to burn calories – unfortunately, most of us don’t have regular access to a hockey arena. The good news is that you can burn a lot of calories by rollerskating or inline skating.

Studies show that inline skating at a pace of 20 miles per hour helps a skater burn six calories per minute—or about 360 calories per hour. The best part: inline skating is far easier on the bones and joints than running.

Inline Skating

9. Rowing

Rowing is a great way to build muscle and burn calories. Studies show that rowing at just a moderate pace can help a 125-pound individual burn more than 200 calories over a half-hour period. By stepping up the pace and going for a full hour, someone can actually burn about 600 calories!

It’s not easy to find a lake, river, or stream to row on, so look for a gym that has a few rowing machines. These replicate the rowing experience and also help one burn lots of calories.


10. Boxing

Boxing is often derided as a dangerous sport, but when performed in safe way it can actually be a great way to burn calories and get in shape. For those who don’t want a bloody nose, try hitting the heavy bag or speed bag.

Studies show that a 155-pound person who spends one hour fighting a heavy bag can burn well over 400 calories. Going into the ring only ratchets things up, with an hour of sparring helping a 155-pound person burn more than 600 calories.



Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a weight loss expert who specializes in healthy living. She is dedicated to providing health-conscious individuals with the information they need to make great lifestyle choices that will make them look and feel better. In her spare time, Emily teaches Pilates at a local studio and enjoys activities like hiking, rowing and biking.