Exercise Guide To Help You Burn 500 Calories

For many people attempting to lose weight, 500 calories is the ‘gold standard’ calorie-reduction goal. Calories are burned as energy by the body when undergoing physical strain–anything from running to playing the drums counts as an activity that costs the body calories.

This means the intensity of a workout affects the calories burned–high intensity cardio like all-out sprinting or CrossFit will burn calories quicker than something like yoga or walking.

Your body’s physiology and conditioning impacts the rate at which calories are burned. An overweight person not accustomed to exercise will burn calories faster than someone who is at a normal weight and who exercises regularly.

Nutrition and fitness experts have a graph showing different kinds of workouts and how long it takes for to burn 500 calories depending on your body weight:

minutes of exercise to burn 500 calories

As you can see, the chart lists 20 different exercises with variable characteristics and intensities which have been tried and tested in order to clarify the approximate amount of time it takes for them to burn 500 calories depending on your body weight.

The listed activities are diverse, with each activity highlighted by a main characteristic that sets it apart from the others.

Whether you prefer a straightforward activity, a sporty workout, an aquatic exercise or otherwise, there’s certainly something listed towards your preference in order to help you reach your 500 calorie goal.

Getting Started With  An Activity

There’s a wide range of choices on the graph, so making a choice might not be a simple process. However, the calculations done on the number of minutes required to lose 500 calories with a preferred activity according to body weight can help clarify your choice.

Here’s a brief explanation of each activity, how it can be undertaken, and the easiest way to get started with it. Keep in mind that some activities carry additional benefits aside from the calorie loss:


Aquaerobics is touted as a more intense version of regular aerobics due to the water resistance, which forces muscles to work harder, thus increasing calories burned improving muscle tone. The downside is, of course, you need a pool. Fortunately, many full service fitness centers have pools now, and offer aquaerobics classes.

Boot Camp

Boot camp workouts are designed to cut calories fast because of their high intensity. These workouts feature ‘drills’: common calisthenic exercises performed in quick intervals.

A typical boot camp drill might be a set of push-ups, squats, sit ups, and jumping jacks and require no or minimal equipment. A boot camp drill typically lasts no more than two minutes and is instantly followed by another drill without rest.

Some fitness centers hold boot camp classes, but if you’ve got sufficient space in your home, you could easily set up an intense boot camp drill for yourself–just look online to find some ideas drills.

Boxing and Kickboxing–Heavy Bag

Punching a heavy bag isn’t only an excellent cardio workout, but it also increases arm and shoulder strength and works wonders for stress. You need a heavy bag (and a place to hang it) and boxing gloves; a ring timer is optional. Strike the bag for 2-3 minutes (1 round) and then rest 1 minute between rounds. Try to work up to 8 total rounds. Form is important–you can get the basics from YouTube videos.

Cross Country Skiing

This activity may be a exotic to people living in urban environments, but anyone whose tried it will tell you it’s definitely worth a try. If you reside in a mountainous area that gets snow in the winter season, taking up cross country skiing is an excellent way to burn calories. All you need is a pair of cross country skis (different from downhill skis). Pairing up with a partner makes this experience even more fun.


Seasoned cyclists will tell you riding a bicycle to work or around town is more fun than driving a car. Cycling is one of the most common forms of commuting, and it vastly improves cardiovascular health, not to mention the calories it burns. Cycling to and from destinations will certainly burn a few hundred calories in your typical day.

Spin Class

Spin class is a more intense version of regular cycling performed indoors and on a stationary bike. Spin classes almost always have a professional leading a team of cyclists in order to ensure that everyone’s performing at their best. In addition to the calories burned, a spin class has the fun of being a group activity. Spin classes are located in most fitness/recreation center, so they’re not hard to find.

Ice Skating

If you don’t know how to ice skate, getting to a local ice rink and learning this fun activity will prove to be a rewarding experience. Ice skating will have your leg strength on the rise and your leg muscles toned.


Jogging is one of the most common exercises in the world. Jogging at a steady rate of roughly 6.5 miles per hour will burn around 500 calories in less than an hour for anyone. Jogging is a very accessible activity that can be done indoors or out, free style or on e treadmill. It will trim your waistline while contributing to your mental health and mood by producing endorphins, or as seasoned runners like to call it, ‘runner’s high’.

Martial Arts

Taking up a martial art requires preparedness and dedication. Anyone practicing a martial arts will tell you that they’re in it for the long haul. Choosing a martial art you prefer can take a bit of searching, but once you find the one for you, you’ll realize how rewarding and beneficial it can be.

Not only will you be practicing with fellow individuals who share a like-minded mentality, you’ll also have the opportunity to develop discipline, strength, and flexibility. The calories burned during your workouts are a bonus.


Pilates consists of a series of low-impact flexibility, strength and endurance exercises that will improve your posture, core strength, muscle balance and even mental awareness. From obscurity to becoming a mainstream fitness movement, Pilates provides a host of benefits. It’s common for fitness centers to host Pilates classes, and there are many Pilates-exclusive studios.


A round of racquetball might just be the most fun way to burn calories. After it’s heyday  in the 80s, racquetball courts are harder to find, but large any large town will probably have a racket club.


Rollerblading, like ice skating, is one of those activities that counts as cardio, but is also a fun hobby. Rollerblading is available to everyone (with a pair of rollerblades of course), so if you’re looking for a fun exercise, stick your feet into some rollerblades. You’ll also be sculpting your leg muscles to perfection while you’re at it.


Ever seen the massive forearm and back muscles on Olympic rowers? Rowing is an intense exercise that provide not only cardiovascular training, but strength training as well. Finding the ‘real deal’ when it comes to rowing might prove challenging, especially if you don’t live near a large body of water like a lake or river.

You can, however, find rowing machines in most fitness centers, designed to mimic the nature of actual rowing while delivering the same benefits.

Interval Sprints

Interval sprints is probably the fastest way to burn calories. Just 24 total minutes of sprinting burns 500 calories for even seasoned athletes. This method of cardio certainly isn’t easy for the beginner, but anyone seeking to build stamina, enhance their metabolism, and burn a large number of calories should definitely give sprint training a shot.

Strength Training

When you practice strength training, you’re building muscle, which has the added benefit of increasing your metabolism. A faster metabolism means more calories burned regardless of the activity.

While building muscle might require you to take in more calories, rest assured that they’ll be used to build muscle, not fat. Strength training Weightlifting when combined with regular cardio and a balanced diet, will burns through fat like nothing else.


Nothing gets every single muscle in your body working quite like swimming. Swimming at a moderate rate will burn through 500 calories for most people in under an hour while promoting a lean physique and healthy posture. Find your nearest swimming pool at a local pool or recreational center, or if you’re more of an outdoorsman, go natural at a nearby beach.


Sometimes we forget how the most basic form of human movement is capable of bettering our cardiovascular health while burning calories. A long walk will always do you good. It gets your heart rate up, gets your body moving, and is scientifically proven to improve mood. Walking at a brisk speed of 3.5 miles an hour will have you burning through 500 calories in under an hour.


Yoga can enhance every facet of your life, and is highly recommended by the health & fitness community.

The physical side of yoga, which includes maintaining certain body positions, burns calories and increases heart rate. In that sense, yoga is a form of light cardio.

Yoga is also directly linked to a staggering amount of health benefits ranging from improved blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health to enhanced cognitive ability and mental clarity.

Pretty much all urban areas have yoga centers with trained professionals there to guide beginners.


Zumba is an aerobic fitness program that typically consists of Latin America-inspired dance moves that combine in an an energetic form of cardio. Zumba classes are commonly available in fitness and recreational centers, and taking part in them will have you mingling in a positive and energetic crowd.

Setting and accomplishing the goal of burning 500 calories through exercise a minimum of three times a week will result in vast improvements in your body composition, physical condition, and mental health.

You don’t necessarily have to pump iron at the gym or run on a treadmill, exercise can mean many things, from power walking to playing a sport – all you need to do is get active.


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