Boxing Burns More Calories Than Any Other Sport

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Playing sport isn’t just about burning calories. It’s a great way to socialise or simply something to enjoy for the sake of it. But if your main aim is shedding calories, boxing might be your best bet.

Research from supplement brand Forza has found that boxing burns 800 calories an hour, more than any other sport, with squash (748 calories an hour) second and rowing outdoors (740 calories an hour) third.

Clearly there are all sorts of caveats to bear in mind when it comes to measuring the amount of calories a sport burns, more on which later, but for now let’s stick the blinders on and look at the top 10 calorie-burning sports.

The Top 10 Activities For Burning Calories (By Calories Burned In An Hour)

  1. Boxing (800)
  2. Squash (748)
  3. Rowing on a lake or river (740)
  4. Road running at a fast or medium pace (700)
  5. Swimming – front crawl or butterfly (680)
  6. Rugby (614)
  7. Football (612)
  8. Road cycling at a fast pace (604)
  9. Gym exercise – weights and cardio (590)
  10. Running on a treadmill (580)

Boxing’s high calorie count was based on it being a workout that recruits the entire body and involves bursts of very intense activity. We’d also bet that a few extra calories get shed due to the fear of taking a fist in the face.

RECOMMENDED: 15-Minute Boxing Workout From Barry McGuigan

Squash beat out other racquet sports because the rallies tend to last longer and there are less breaks in between points, resulting in players spending a high percentage of their time sprinting, lunging, twisting and striking the ball.

One interesting result from the survey was that outdoor sports handily outdid their indoor counterparts. Running and rowing outdoors burned far more calories than using cardio machines in the gym.

The Forza survey went to the trouble of listing the top 50 activities, including activities which we wouldn’t turn to when setting out to torch calories, like birdwatching (101 calories burned in an hour) and playing the piano (100 calories).

Here a few more popular activities you might want to see the calorie count on, and their overall rank:

14. Rowing machine (440 calories burned in an hour)
17. Weights at gym (340 calories)
18. Pilates (320 calories)
21. Cricket (272 calories)
29. Walking to work (207 calories)

Why the destination of your walk makes such a big difference is anyone’s guess, but there it is, you can blitz 207 calories for every hour of a walk commute.

Naturally all of these calorie counts are approximate and will vary wildly from person to person. Your sex, age, weight and overall fitness are just some of the major factors that influence the amount of calories you burn, as well as your approach to the sport involved. The most important thing is to do some activity, whatever it is.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.