How many calories can you burn with outdoor exercises?

Based on exercise guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO), adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should have at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity weekly.

“Combined with resistance training, these guidelines are meant for general health maintenance. To lose weight, however, you may need to increase the time to at least 250 minutes per week,” advises Ms Cindy Ng Li Whye, Principal Physiotherapist from the Department of Physiotherapy and LIFE Centre (Lifestyle Improvement & Fitness Enhancement) at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

But what if you can’t afford to devote 250 minutes every week to exercise?

“Then you should try to incorporate more high-intensity exercises into your fitness routine. The goal is to burn 3,850 calories for every half a kilo (or 3,500 calories per pound) that you want to lose,” she adds.

If you enjoy fresh air and open space, check out our list of outdoor exercises that are easy and affordable to pick up. Tables have been included to give you an idea of the number of calories burnt per 30 minutes. We’ve even compared these numbers to popular foods commonly found locally for easy understanding.

These values are tabulated based on a person’s average weight of 73kg. As always, it is advisable to check with your doctor first before starting any new exercise programme.

Cycling (at 14 km/hr)

Like brisk walking, cycling puts little strain on your knee joints. It can also easily be made into a fun-filled activity for the whole family (for example a day at the park or beach). Family bonding and calorie burning all rolled up in one!

Calories burnt (in 30 min) Roughly equivalent to…
146 1 serving of chapati (143 kcal)

Brisk walking (at 5.6 km/hr)

A great low-impact workout suitable for both the young and elderly, brisk walking is one of the easiest ways to pick up exercise. Like running and jogging, it helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol and your risk of diabetes.

Calories burnt (in 30 min)Roughly equivalent to…
157 1 char siew pau (161 kcal)

Swimming (laps)

Singapore may be small but we enjoy the luxury of having 26 public swimming pools located islandwide. Given that swimming offers an all-body workout while having little impact on the joints and lets you keep cool in the heat, it’s no surprise that it is a crowd favourite. Lose weight, without any visible sweat!

Calories burnt (in 30 min)Roughly equivalent to…
211 1 bowl of fish porridge (211 kcal)

Jogging (at 8 km/hr)

Jogging is essentially running but at a more leisurely pace. As it is less physically demanding than running, you have no problem chatting at the same time. This makes it an ideal weight loss exercise to pursue with a fitness buddy.

Calories burnt (in 30 min)Roughly equivalent to…
303 1 chicken pie (312 kcal)

Running (at 12.8 km/hr)

​Running is a high-impact exercise and one of the most effective methods to lose weight. With enough practice and if you enjoy challenging yourself, you might even consider taking part in running events like marathons.

Calories burnt (in 30 min)Roughly equivalent to…
430 1 plate of wanton noodles, dry (411 kcal)

Need help adopting a better lifestyle? The LIFE Centre at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) has a multidisciplinary team of experts who can provide you with guidance on weight management, exercise and diet.

Prefer exercising indoors? Read the next page to find out which burns more calories, using a staionary bike, elliptical trainer or zumba dancing?

Ref: Q15​​

Also, check out our other articles on fitness tips:

Which Burns More? Resistance Training or Aerobic Exercises?

How To Unlock Your Fat-Burning Zone

The 10-Minute Full Body Home Workout

Top Exercises for Lowering High Blood Pressure

Tips for Exercising Safely During Pregnancy