What form of cardio burns the most calories?

Wendy Batts
How many calories you burn during cardio depends on a few things. Mostly, how hard you are working along with how accustomed to the movement your body is will determine how many calories you will burn. For example walking on a treadmill at 3.5 mph without an incline will burn fewer calories than walking uphill outside at 3.5 mph. They’re both walking at 3.5 mph, but of different demands and intensities. This question often comes up in the form of “what is the best cardio”? The best form cardio is really the one that you will do on a consistent basis!
In short, you and your intensity will determine how many calories your cardio session burns. Intensity can be measured in many fashions but use a “talk test” to start. If you can speak with full sentences, you are at a low intensity. If you can only comfortably produce short sentences, you are at a moderate intensity. Finally, if you can only produce one word answers, you are working at a high intensity. If you are new to cardio, work at low intensities and progress to moderate intensity as the weeks go by. Higher intensities will not only burn more calories during cardio, but after cardio as well. Be sure to work up to it in baby steps though. Doing too much too soon can lead to injury or burn out. As always, consult your healthcare provider before increasing your activity.

The best cardio would be the one that you would do consistently on a regular basis. Do what you enjoy and remember to mix it up. I would suggest High Intensity Cardio. This consists of a shorter duration (20-30 min), intervals, and explosive movements. This type of cardio burns tons of calories and revs up your metabolism.

Remember to mix it up, keep it interesting!
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine
The more intense the exercise the more calories are burned.  Pace of exercise has a lot to do with it.  An example is the eliptical.  The higher the levels on the machine the more calories are burned.  The faster the pace and the higher the resistance you will burn more calories.
Jill Mearns
There are a few things to consider when determining what is the best calorie burning exercise for you.

The more intense the exercise is, the more calories you will burn.  For example, running or jogging burns more calories than walking because it is more intense. As a matter of fact, running is one of the highest calorie-burning exercises.  

One way to increase the intensity of an exercise is to do intervals, which are short bursts of intensity.  For example, you could run for 40 seconds and walk for 20 seconds out of each minute.  This allows you to exercise at a higher intensity and burn more calories.  One great exercise to try so that you can experience interval training is an indoor cycling, or "spin" class.

Determining what is the best exercise for you to do to burn calories is personal - it should be something that is enjoyable to you and that you can make a part of your routine. After all, you will burn the most calories by making whatever exercises you choose a regular part of your life. If you like being outdoors, cycling or running might be your thing.  If you like a social workout, a group training class, such as indoor cycling, might be your thing. 
The number of calories burned per hour for a particular exercise is going to depend on several factors. Factors such as gender, body type, and the intensity and duration of the exercise are critical to the number of calories burned. In order to decrease size, you must simply burn more calories than are being consumed. This is dictated by the law of thermodynamics. It is does not necessarily matter how the calories are burned. In the long run, the most effective cardio is generally the cardio you enjoy. Although the elliptical may be a great way to burn extra calories, if you despise it, chances are you will not go an extra five minutes on it. On the other hand, if you enjoy mountain biking with friends, you are much more likely to exercise longer and ultimately expend more energy. If this is the case, mountain biking would be a better option for you to burn the most calories. In the gym or at home, ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes, and rowers are all great forms of cardio activity if the intensity and duration are at the correct level. It is important to judge intensity by either measuring the heart rate or performing the talk test. For body composition goals, such as weight loss, you should aim to sustain a heart rate between 65% and 90% of estimated maximum heart rate. You can calculate your estimated maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. The 65% should be used by individuals who are just beginning an exercise program and deconditioned, and the 90% should only be used by conditioned individuals or athletes. Staying within these zones will ensure you that your burning the most calories per minute. The talk test is a method of measuring intensity based on whether can speak or not during the exercise. If you can barely speak, there is a good chance you are within appropriate range and gaining the most benefit. Duration is also an important aspect to consider. Performing cardio at 80% of estimated max heart rate is great but only if you can maintain for decent length of time. If you cannot, tt would be a better option to scale back the intensity to maybe 70% and perform the activity for 20 minutes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.