How to Burn 500 Calories

Three Parts:Conventional ExerciseRecreational ExerciseEveryday Exercise

To lose weight, you'll need to burn more calories than you consume. If you burn an extra 500 calories per day, you could lose roughly 1 to 2 lbs (450 to 900 g) by the end of one full week.[1] There are many ways to burn 500 calories, so the key to success is finding an exercise that's enjoyable enough to perform regularly.

Part 1
Conventional Exercise

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    Run at a brisk pace. If you run at a pace of 6 miles (9.7 km) per hour—or 10 minutes per mile (1.6 km)—you can burn 500 calories in 44 minutes. To shorten this time down to 30 minutes, you'll need to run at a pace of 8 miles (12.9 km) per hour.
    • Running at interval sprints can shorten your time even further. For someone weighing 120 lbs (54.5 kg), you can burn 500 calories in 24 minutes this way. Someone weighing twice as much can accomplish the same feat in half the time.[2]
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    Jog. If you don't have the energy for a full run, you can try jogging at slow, steady pace. Since jogging isn't quite as intense, though, you'll need to do it for about 60 minutes at a speed of 5 miles (8.0 km) per hour to see results.[3]
    • If you increase your pace to 6.5 miles (10.5 km) per hour, you can lose the same amount in about 53 minutes if you weigh around 120 lbs (54.5 kg). Decrease this time interval if you weigh more.
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    Take a hike. If jogging doesn't appeal to you, take things even one step slower by going for a 2-hour nature hike.
    • You'll need to walk at a moderate pace while hiking to really make a difference. Also note that adding diverse terrain, like hills and rocky paths, can further shorten your exercise time.
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    Swim laps. Swimming for around 40 minutes at a moderate pace should be enough for most men, but women may need to continue for 10 to 30 minutes more.
    • Swimming for 40 minutes works out to roughly 1 mile (1.6 km) or 66 laps at a standard long-course lap pool measuring 36.4 yd (33.3 m).
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    Ride a bike. Roughly 40 to 70 minutes of moderately paced cycling will burn 500 calories, and you can use either a standard bike or a stationary exercise bike.[4]
    • The amount will vary depending on your weight and the type of cycling you do.
    • Outdoor cycling requires a greater amount of time. You'll need to continue for 75 minutes if you only weigh 120 lbs (54.5 kg) or 38 minutes if you weigh around 240 lbs (109 kg).
    • On the other hand, a spinning class can allow you to reach your goal in 26 to 53 minutes, ranging from heavier to lighter weights.
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    Use a stair climber. Exercising for 50 minutes on a stair-climbing machine can accomplish your goal, but if you choose to climb up and down the stairs at home, you'll need to do so for about 85 minutes throughout the day.
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    Jump rope. Roughly 50 minutes of jump roping will allow you to reach your goal, but if you can't handle all of that at once, you can split it into five separate 10-minute intervals throughout the day.
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    Practice aerobics. If you're practicing high-impact step aerobics, you should be able to burn 500 calories after 50 minutes. When practicing low-impact step aerobics, increase this to 70 minutes.
    • Similarly, you'll need to practice water aerobics for 66 minutes if you weigh 240 lbs (109 kg) or 131 minutes if you weigh 120 lbs (54.5 kg).

Part 2
Recreational Exercise

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    Play sports. The amount of time you'll need to spend will vary based on the type of exercise you choose to perform. In general, sports that require more vigorous activity will require a shorter time than leisurely sports, though.
    • Play a singles match of tennis for 60 minutes. If you choose to play doubles, increase the amount of time to about 90 minutes.
    • Head to the beach and play volleyball for 60 minutes. You can also practice this sport at the gym, but you may need to add another 30 to 45 minutes to achieve the same effect.
    • Practice nearly any form of martial arts for roughly 50 minutes. You should practice consistently for the full time, however; subtract any time spent watching inactive instruction.
    • Try playing racquetball for approximately 55 minutes, or punch a heavy boxing bag for around 60 minutes.
    • Play rugby for around 45 minutes, touch football for 50 minutes, or a game of full-court basketball for 50 minutes.
    • Even relatively slow-paced sports can help you reach your goal. Golfing for 90 minutes can burn 500 calories if you walk around the course and carry your own clubs, and 2 hours of bowling or Frisbee sports can accomplish the same task.
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    Ride a horse. Roughly 2 hours of general horseback riding will burn 500 calories, but you'll burn the same amount at a faster pace if you're competing or training for a competition.
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    Go rock climbing. If you're a bit of a daredevil, try rock climbing for a full 45 to 60 minutes. For the less daring, you could practice the same amount on a rock climbing wall at a gym.
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    Ski or snowboard. Practicing roughly 65 minutes of moderate-level downhill skiing or snowboarding should be enough to burn 500 calories.
    • If you switch to cross country skiing, you'll only need to go at it for about 50 minutes to accomplish the same result.
    • Similarly, you can try water-skiing for 65 minutes to burn off the same amount, too.
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    Grab a pair of skates. Both ice skating and rollerblading can burn off 500 calories in approximately the same amount of time.
    • If you weigh around 120 lbs (54.5 kg), you'll need to skate for around 75 minutes. Cut this down to 38 minutes of you weigh closer to 240 lbs (109 kg).
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    Try yoga. You'll need a full 2 hours of yoga to burn 500 calories, but if you combine this with another activity, you can put in 1 hour of yoga to reach the halfway mark of your daily goal.
    • Note that the same holds true for Pilates, too.
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    Row a boat. Rowing a boat for 40 to 60 minutes should be enough, but if you're not a fan of the water, you can also practice for the same amount of time on a rowing machine at the gym.
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    Surf. This means surfing the waves, of course, and not the Internet. Roughly 60 minutes of surfing at an ocean-side beach will do the trick.
    • If you only have access to a lake, consider paddle boarding for the same amount of time, instead.
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    Learn to dance. Rapid dancing can burn 500 calories in about 50 minutes, but the exact amount of time will vary depending on the type of dance you choose to practice.
    • For instance, an hour of salsa dancing will burn 290 calories, but an hour of modern dance or ballet will burn roughly 310 calories. Belly dancing will only burn 250 calories per hour.
    • On the other hand, doing a dance workout like Zumba will burn 500 calories at a much faster pace. Someone weighing 120 lbs (54.5 kg) would need to practice about 67 minutes, but someone weighing 240 lbs (109 kg) would only need 33 minutes of practice.

Part 3
Everyday Exercise

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    Mow the lawn. Mowing grass for approximately 2 hours in one day will give you the calorie loss you desire, but you'll need to use a push mower and not a riding mower.
    • Unless you offer to mow your neighbors' lawns after you finish yours, you probably won't be able to burn all 500 calories this way.
    • Consider combining this exercise with something else. For instance, if you mow the lawn for 1 hour, you've burned about 250 calories. Jogging for 30 minutes or performing another similar exercise can help you burn the remaining 250 calories.
    • You can also combine mowing the lawn with gardening. You'll need to garden for 90 minutes to burn the full amount, which may seem just as impractical as spending 120 minutes cutting your grass. Combining the two can be a more sensible approach.
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    Shovel snow. In general, shoveling snow for 50 to 80 minutes in one day will let you burn 500 calories before going to bed.
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    Clean the house. Roughly 2 hours of physically active housework can burn 500 calories.[5] This includes most chores, like vacuuming, mopping, dusting, scrubbing toilets, and lugging around heavy piles of laundry.
    • You might be able to reduce this time by 15 to 18 minutes if you sing or dance around while you work. Doing so can make the activity more enjoyable and more productive.
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    Play the guitar. Playing the guitar while standing can burn 500 calories in about 130 minutes, or 2 hours and 10 minutes.
    • This only holds true if you play while standing, though. Sitting while playing can double the necessary amount of time.
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    Play with your kids. If you have young kids, 90 minutes of moderate-level playtime can burn off the full amount. You'll need to be actively involved in the play, though, and the activities should involve consistent motion.
    • In other words, opt for things like playing tag or having snowball fights.
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    Grab a hula hoop. If you can maintain a steady pace, you can burn 10 calories per 1 minute with a hula hoop. This means that 50 minutes of play with a hula hoop can burn 500 calories.
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    Go shopping. In case you were looking for another excuse to go shopping, you can head to the mall and shop around for approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes to burn off the full 500 calories.
    • Subtract any breaks you take during the middle of your shopping adventure. Sitting on a bench outside the department store or in a seat at the food court won't help you reach your goal.
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    Fidget. Fidgeting will help you burn calories without realizing it. While you may not burn the full 500 calories, every bit of movement can help you reach your goal.
    • This includes activities like tapping your foot, bouncing your leg as you sit, and pacing while talking on the phone.
    • By consciously fidgeting throughout the entire day, you can burn up to 350 calories.[6]


  • If none of these exercises hold your attention for an adequate amount of time, mix and match until you reach your 500-calorie goal. Doing so allows you to shorten the time you spend on each one, which may also make it easier for you to squeeze small amounts of exercise into different parts of your day.
  • Note that the amount of time you'll need to spend exercising can vary depending on your weight and the speed of your metabolism, so the instructions provided here should only be used as guidelines. As a general rule, people who weigh less need to exercise longer than people who weigh more.

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Categories: Losing Weight