The Best Ways To Burn Calories

Woman relaxing in bath
Woman relaxing in bath
(Image credit: Business Images/REX/Shutterstock)

It's official: researchers have discovered the best way to burn calories. Did you know that an hour spent luxuriating in a hot bath could burn as many calories as a 30 minute walk? Scientists report that, thanks to so-called ‘passive heating', 40°C soaks could not only burn up to 130 calories, but help to control blood sugar.

"Soaking in a hot tub or taking a sauna may have health benefits for people who are unable to exercise regularly," said researcher Steve Faulkner. Since we can't sit in the bath all day, though, we've discovered the best ways to burn calories out of the tub - at home, in the office, even while you sleep! Read on to find out how to burn calories fast...

How many calories do I burn a day?

If you're trying to lose weight, or simply maintain your current weight, you need to know how many calories you burn in a day, i.e. your metabolic rate. The rate at which you burn calories is affected by your age, gender, height, weight and muscle mass.

How to calculate your BMR

Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn at rest i.e. when you are asleep or resting. You can figure out your basal metabolic rate (or BMR) using the following calculation:

655.1 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) - (4.7 x age in years)


655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

Let's say you're a 55-year-old woman who's 5'3" (161.6cm) tall and weighs 11 stone (i.e. 154lbs or 70.2kg).

4.35 x 154 (your weight in lbs) = 669.9

4.7 x 63 (your height in inches) = 296.1

4.7 x 55 (your age in years) = 258.5

655 + 669.9 + 296.1 - 258.5 = 1362.5

If your BMR is 1362.5, this means that your body burns 1362.5 calories a day simply to stay alive.

How to calculate your AMR

Find out your active metabolic rate (i.e. the actual number of calories you burn per day, assuming you get out of bed and/or the tub from time to time) by multiplying your basal metabolic rate (BMR) by one of the following numbers:

  • If you are generally sedentary (even if you exercise), multiply your BMR by 1.2 to find your AMR. Office workers fall into this category.

  • If you are on your feet throughout the day, multiply your BMR by 1.3 to find your AMR. Housewives and retail workers fall into this category.

  • If you are on your feet moving at a past face or periodically exerting energy throughout the day, multiply your BMR by 1.4 to find your AMR. Plumbers, electricians and personal trainers fall into this category.

  • If you are extremely physically active throughout the day, multiply your BMR by 1.5 to find your AMR. Professional athletes and construction workers fall into this category.

So, if your BMR is 1362.5 and you spend most of your working day sitting at a desk, you'd multiply your BMR by 1.2 to give you an AMR of 1635. This means that, on an average day, you'd burn around 1635 calories if you didn't do any additional exercise. Metabolic rate will vary slightly from individual to individual, but this calculation is fairly accurate for most people.

How to burn calories fast

Looking for ways to ramp up that calorie burn? Look no further...

Calories burned...


Skipping can burn more than 1,000 calories per hour. That's the same number as running at 8mph.

Playing Tennis

Playing tennis can burn more than 700 calories an hour.


High intensity interval training (HIIT) burns approximately 10 calories a minute for the average woman. You'll also continue to burn calories after you finish training. A 30 minute HIIT session will give you an ‘afterburn' of approximately 100 additional calories.


An hour on the rowing machine can burn more than 500 calories.


An hour-long hike can burn more than 500 calories.

Light lap swimming

Light lap swimming can burn more than 500 calories an hour.

Water aerobics

An hour of aqua aerobics burns up to 500 calories.


Downhill skiing can burn more than 350 calories per hour.


A brisk walk can burn up to 400 calories per hour.Find out how to calculate the number of calories you burn whilst walking.


Research suggests that fidgeters burn 350 additional calories per day.

Doing yoga

Yoga burns approximately 200-300 calories an hour, depending on the variation practised.

Sitting on a stability ball

Swap your chair for a stability ball and you could burn an additional 260 calories per day.


Slow, easy cycling can burn up to 350 calories an hour.

Doing Housework

Mopping floors can burn more than 300 calories an hour.Find out how many calories you burn doing other household chores.


Bowling can burn more than 250 calories an hour.

Ballroom dancing

An hour of ballroom dancing can burn up to 275 calories.


25 minutes spent weeding burns approximately 127 calories, whilst 15 minutes spent planting burns 77 calories.


A 45 minute supermarket trip burns 117 calories, according to researchers. Putting your groceries away burns a further 40, whilst trying on an outfit burns 11.


Singing can burn more than 100 calories an hour


Calm women burn an additional 100 calories a day compared with stressed women, according to researchers.

Strength training

A 30 minute weights session burns about 100 calories. However, building muscle will also increase your BMR: more lean muscle mass means more calories burned at rest - even when you're asleep!