Running is one of the simplest athletic endeavours humans can do, mainly because no equipment is needed – technically not even shoes (though our 21st-century living environment calls for them). Running at 12.8kph burns 1074 calories (4296 kilojoules) per hour for a 90-kilo person, according to fitness expert Chris Ryan. Because it requires a serious amount of energy to move fast and places a lot of demand on your cardiovascular system, most of us can’t sprint or run too fast for too long.
“The best way to incorporate this exercise is to do 10- to 20- second sprints (or 100-200 metres, if you’re on a track) and then jog or walk for 60 seconds,” says Dr Roger E. Adams, a dietitian and nutritionist and founder of eatrightfitness.com. “Keep repeating these intervals until you’ve had enough, or until your sprints look like jogs.” Hoping to maximise your workout even more? Add a weighted vest to your sprints. This will drive up your calorie burn and is much safer than holding dumbbells or using ankle weights.
There’s a reason some of the world’s greatest boxers have relied on the benefits of skipping rope to train their footwork and increase their heart rate. “Jumping rope can burn upwards of 1074 calories (4296 kilojoules) per hour and is an excellent workout for the whole body,” says Ryan. “Even just a few minutes of jumping rope can get your lungs burning and heart racing.”
One of the best parts of this calorie-torching exercise? You can do it almost anywhere, anytime, though few of us can handle it for more than a few minutes straight. Just like running, “the best way to incorporate jumping rope into your exercise regimen is to do intervals,” says Dr Adams. “Jump rope for a specified number of reps, say 100, then walk around or in place for 60 seconds. Then repeat this interval until you’re too tired to jump effectively.” If you can skip for several minutes straight, go for it! Otherwise, use the interval approach for maximum results.
When it comes to martial arts exercises that burn mega calories, Taekwondo takes the black belt, burning about 937 calories (3748 kilojoules) per hour for a 90-kilo individual. Similar to wrestling or boxing, Taekwondo is a self-defence exercise that originated in Korea and has been around for about 2000 years. Typically, you’d perform the exercise by competing against another person across from you. This person tries to weaken your technique and cause you to let your guard down. “The exercise emphasises speed, power, concentration, reaction force, and breath control among its guiding principles, truly taking on an otherworldly athletic mindset and transforming mind and body to one powerful weapon,” says Ryan. However, many people rest quite a bit between movements, so in order to keep this mode of exercise at the top of the calorie-burning spectrum, minimise rest periods and go directly into each of your movements.