As you may have heard, sitting is the new smoking. Office life, among many other lifestyle factors, such as scrolling social media and binging Netflix, has caused us to be more sedentary than ever.
And this sedentary way of life is causing us more health issues than ever. Sitting for such extended periods of the day will inevitably cause weight gain, thus increasing our risk of developing serious health issues.
So, what’s stopping people from getting up and moving? Well, it could be the fact that we often expose ourselves to unattainable body goals and fitness plans, leading us to develop a “what’s the point?!” kind of attitude.
The truth is, you don’t have to join a grueling fitness plan to get yourself fit and moving. While exercise is key for good health and longevity, this doesn’t always mean running a marathon or hitting the gym 6 times per week.
All movement and activity burn calories, which is what the main goal is here. Getting moving in ways that you enjoy doing will be an absolute game-changer for your health and fitness. Any physical activity counts!
This article explores the many ways in which you can burn 400 calories in as little as 20 minutes!
Of course, the number of calories someone burns doing a particular activity would largely depend on factors such as weight and age. So, the activities you see below are an example of calorie burn based on the average person.
This list starts off low-to-moderate intensity and gradually increases to high intensity, depending on the type and duration of the activity.
Though, before we get into it, it’s important to understand what calories are!
Calorie Burning 101
In the simplest of terms, calories are a unit of measuring energy.
We get calories (energy) from the food we eat, which we then burn as energy to move and survive.
You will see calories listed under nutritional information labels on food packaging, which is essentially how much energy a certain amount of that food will provide us.
Each of us burns a different amount of calories per day based on unique factors such as age, weight, sex, height, and activity levels.
The number of calories we burn daily is known as our total daily energy expenditure or TDEE.
This number is influenced by 3 main factors:
1) Basal metabolic rate (BMR) - This is the number of calories our body burns at rest. If we were to lie in bed and not move all day, our body would still be burning calories to keep our body functioning.
Our BMR is influenced by our weight, height, age, and sex and is often described as our energy cost of survival.
2) Thermic effect of food (TEF) - This is the energy our body burns simply from digesting and absorbing food.
3) Physical activity - This is split into our non-exercise and exercise activities. For example, any form of movements we do, such as walking, cycling, cleaning, gardening, or weightlifting, requires energy.
Taking all of this on board, it’s easier to understand the concept of energy balance and weight management, otherwise known as calories in vs calories out.
To put it simply, when we take in less energy (calories) than we burn, we lose weight. When we take in more calories than we burn, we gain weight.
This is often why a combination of poor diet and a lack of physical activity leads to weight gain because more calories are being consumed than they are being burnt.
So, some would say the way to lose weight would be to eat less and move more. Though this is grossly simplified advice, and a lot more needs to be considered when it comes to losing weight.
However, increasing your physical activity is the perfect place to start!
Let’s get into the different types of activity and duration that allow you to burn 400 calories, which is equivalent to an average-sized healthy meal.
Burning 400 calories in 90 minutes
A long, brisk walk: The easiest, low-impact method of burning calories is simply increasing your daily step count! Try to aim for 8-10k steps per day.
Horse riding: A niche activity that can also give your cardiovascular system a boost.
Pilates: A method of burning calories but also improving posture and relieving any back and neck pain.
Tai Chi: A low-impact, slow-motion exercise great for focusing your attention and breathing.
Paddle boarding: This activity uses your arms and shoulders while engaging your core and boosting your coordination.
A round of golf: An enjoyable challenge that involves plenty of walking and working your swinging muscles.
Burning 400 calories in 75 minutes
Badminton: A sociable sport that incorporates jumping, swinging, and stretching.
Trampolining: Channel your inner child by partaking in this aerobic activity.
Physical activity video games: Dancing, boxing, or adventure games that require you to move around can be a fun way to burn more calories.
Burning 400 calories in 1 hour
Cycling at a slow-moderate speed: Going for an hour cycle can be one of the best things for cardiovascular endurance and burning calories.
Hiking: A step-up from walking, hiking presents more challenging terrain and pace, helping to improve your stamina and coordination.
Heavy gardening: If you have a garden, now is the time to challenge yourself to put in the work before the summer BBQs commence!
Weightlifting: An hour-long weightlifting class can burn calories as well as build lean muscle, among many other benefits of resistance training.
Cleaning the house: A thorough spring cleaning session can actually burn more calories than you think!
Burning 400 calories in 50 minutes
Mowing the lawn: A quick activity that can make your lawn and arms look more sculpted! The perfect way to work your whole body and get some steps in.
Circuit training: A 50-minute blast of bodyweight training can sometimes burn more than 400 calories depending on the intensity, so challenge yourself!
Ice skating: A great winter activity that works the lower body, helping to improve ankle mobility too.
Dancing: A 50-minute dance class can prove to be quite the calorie burner, alongside working your hips and midline.
Burning 400 calories in 40 minutes
Swimming: 40 minutes of swimming, particularly the front crawl, can work all of your muscles with minimal strain. The perfect low-impact activity.
A light jog: A steady-paced 40-minute jog can burn around 400 calories. This may be a distance between 6-8km depending on how fast you run!
Tennis: Got time for a quick 40-minute tennis game with a friend? This is a great way to strengthen your entire body, as well as work your cardiovascular endurance.
Burning 400 calories in 30 minutes
Skipping or jump rope: Skipping is a very underrated cardio-focused exercise. This activity is accessible for most people and doesn’t require a gym membership!
Rowing: Jumping on a rowing machine in the gym and doing a 30-minute session can burn calories and improve your overall fitness.
Spinning: A 30-minute spin class is known to be one of the best, most enjoyable ways to burn more calories.
Boxing: A great full-body workout that provides a great challenge for your stamina and endurance.
Burning 400 calories in 20-25 minutes
A full-body conditioning workout: This is where the challenge really begins! Burning 400 calories in 20 minutes is achievable if you push the intensity in a weighted workout.
For example, a kettlebell or dumbbell workout that has minimal rest and challenging rep ranges.
A Tabata workout: Similar to HIIT (high-intensity interval training), Tabata offers minimal rest alongside intense working sets. A great challenge for bodyweight or with weight.
The Take-Home Message
It’s a common misconception that to burn more calories, you must get a gym membership and run on a treadmill for hours on end!
As this list has shown, you can burn calories doing all kinds of physical activity. The more intense the session, the more calories you will burn.
So, if you’re looking to lose weight, start by increasing your physical activity. This will make you feel much healthier and more motivated to make dietary changes, which tends to be the more challenging part of achieving weight loss.
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