50 Easy Ways to Burn 50 Calories in 5 Minutes

Calories in, calories out. Seems simple enough. However, sometimes getting in the exact amount of recommended exercise every day and burning off those calories (did someone say happy hour?) might seem insurmountable. If you don't have 30 minutes to devote to burning off those extra calories today, well, then might as well wait till tomorrow, right?

Not so fast. There's no reason you have to wait to do all of your exercise in one session during the day. In fact, studies show that spreading your workout into smaller sessions throughout the day is just as effective as one longer session. Whether you workout one time a day for 30 minutes, twice a day for 15 or six times a day for five, you can reap similar benefits.

Do keep in mind that your calorie burn changes as your level of fitness changes, but as long as you're challenging your body in different ways, you'll discover what works best for you. "It’s important to keep in mind that calories burned are all based on estimates and will vary from person to person," SparkPeople Coach Jen says.

"The more you weigh, the more you burn. As you become more fit, you’ll burn less calories in the same amount of time doing the same activity because your body becomes more efficient. That’s why it’s important to vary your routine regularly so you continue challenging your body in new ways. It’s good to keep an eye on calories burned, but don’t let that be the only focus on your weight loss journey. Look at the bigger picture and find activities you enjoy, because you’re much more likely to stick with those long-term."

Instead of waiting for that prime time to get in your workout, consider incorporating these five-minute activities into your day. Do as many or as few as you want. How much (and for how long) you feel the burn is up to you.

50 Ways to Burn 50 Calories in 5 Minutes

Gym Activites 

1. Running on the treadmill (6 mph)
2. Indoor cycling at a fast pace
3. Playing racquetball
4. Rowing machine (vigorous)
5. Boxing workout
6. Practicing martial arts
7. Circuit training or boot camp
8. Walking on a treadmill (4 mph with a 5 percent incline)
9. Kettlebell training
10. Doing pull-ups (vigorous)
11. Doing push-ups (vigorous)
12. Cardio kickboxing
13. Stationary biking (vigorous)
14. Burpees
15. Crossfit
16. Water jogging  
17. Using the ski machine
18. Using the stair-step machine
19. Step aerobics
20. Mountain climbers
21. High knees (vigorous)
22. Tabata
23. Doing sit-ups (vigorous)
24. 5 Minutes of the 10-Minute Jump Start Cardio Workout

Sports and Outdoors 

25. Jumping rope (continuously)
26. Kayaking
27. Playing basketball
28. Swimming laps or treading water
29. Rock climbing
30. Cycling (12+mph) or mountain biking
31. Running (at least 12 minutes per mile)
32. Jumping jacks (continuous)
33. Skipping (continuously)
34. Kickball (vigorous, continuous)
35. Playing lacrosse
36. Canoeing
37. Water polo
38. Sand volleyball
39. Playing touch or flag football
40. Playing handball
41. Playing rugby
42. Playing squash           
43. Cross-country skiing
44. Bicycle racing
45. Climbing hills (with a 42+ pound pack)
46. Speed skating

Home and Garden

47. Heavy lifting in the yard (digging, heavy yard work)
48. Moving boxes or furniture
49. Chopping wood and trimming trees
50. Heavy snow shoveling

What do you think about these activities? Did any of them surprise you? If you have five minutes—you can burn 50 calories! What are you waiting for? 
*Calories burned estimates based on a 160-pound woman. Men and people who weigh more will typically burn more calories for the same activity.
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Member Comments

Good ideas Report
I love that gardening and yardwork are included on the list! Report
Itís only after youíve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform. - Roy T. Bennett ~ 2/19/18 Report
Great ideas! Report
Thanks!! Report
Great ideas! Report
For me, this is more a guide of what calories are burned with each activity in 5 minutes rather than the exercises JUST being done for 5 minutes. Report
I am a kayaker, what this tells me is, that every 5 minutes=50 calories burned, on average. Some 5 minutes we're paddling, another 5 minutes we're just steering, yet another 5 minutes...it's a mad paddle n probably more than 50 calories. Good info! Report
These are good idea. But most of these are not 5 minute exercises. Like racquetball - who plays that for 5 minutes. Water polo. Come on folks!

Like I said though, there are a few on here that would work - like high knees and burpees. Report
Good ideas And some are doable for me. Just got to try them. Report
Great ideas Report
Great ideas to follow & add my own variations Good Guide Report
Today will be snow shoveling, but it will take much longer than 5 minutes. Report
Sorry, but a lot of these suggestions aren't suitable for squeezing in 5 minutes as they require you're already at the gym or outdoors. What happened to stair walking at work, walking on your break, or getting off a couple of bus stops before your destination? And why no mention of SP videos? Many of them are 10 minutes or less and totally doable before or after work. Report
Good suggestions for quick easy fixes throughout the day.... Will implement tomorrow :) Report


About The Author

Elizabeth Lowry
Elizabeth Lowry
I'm a member of SparkPeople's editorial team and I write, edit and manage the content you read. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and enjoy cooking for my family and friends, running, strength training, teaching weekly spin classes and playing outside with my kids. I also love a good challenge and recently found that in Barre class. That's not to say I don't enjoy a good indulgence once in a while--wine and chocolate are two of my favorite things. I am grateful to be here, helping our members reach their own healthy living goals.
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