When you want to get in shape you immediately think of running or the gym. If you need to get rid of some of your weight you resort to diet and then training (by now you have realized that diet alone is not enough).
Running is the most immediate: anyone can do it, the tools needed are very few and available (who doesn’t have a decent pair of running shoes?) and you can do it at any time without having to go to the gym (which you also have to pay for).
So if you also want to run to lose weight or keep weight off, the first thing that comes to mind is just to run. But is it also the most effective sports activity if your goal is to burn as many calories as possible in the shortest possible time?
The answer is no, or not only. When you consider that, depending on your weight (the heavier you are, the more calories you burn in an hour of running) and considering about ten kilometers run in an hour, you can end up burning between 500 and 800 Kcal per hour, it is easy to discover that there are many other slightly or even far more effective sport activities. Let’s find out some.
Before you get excited, stop: no, biking doesn’t make you burn more than running. If we were to make a comparison, riding a bike you burn roughly what you burn walking at a brisk pace, which is slightly more than half as much as running.
However, the bike has undoubted advantages: the effort is lower (you sit and always as long as you don’t go like a fighter jet) and you are less bored, if only because the landscape around you changes faster.
Then if you practice it indoors, you can always spend time watching a TV series or movie in the warmth of your home. Burning in moderation but with gusto in the meantime.
Karate in particular, because of its combination of anaerobic training and the work it subjects muscles to, can burn more than a thousand calories per hour.
Boxing is almost as effective: by throwing punches you can get to burn 8-900 Kcal per hour, depending on your weight. Of course you take punches, you don’t just give them.
There are few other physical activities comparable to this in terms of energy expenditure: jumping rope can in fact burn up to 700 Kcal per hour. The problem is that after an hour you will want to hang yourself on that rope.
Playing soccer burns a lot, and yes: up to 1,000 Kcal per hour. So in one game (which, if I’m not mistaken, lasts an hour and a half) you can get to burn up to 1,500 Kcal. The problem is that you need 21 other people to practice it.
Swimming is not among the most fat-burning disciplines: typically in one hour of swimming you can get to burn 5-600 Kcal. But if you swim butterfly you can burn up to almost 800 per hour. The problem is that you then DIE.
In short: sports that make you burn more than running require either a team or a partner or companion to play them. Or they are deadly boring or can lead you to death from exertion (kidding of course).
Perhaps in the end, again, running wins: it requires more patience, more time and dedication but always gives you back more than it asks for.