The Diet Detective: Activities That Burn Calories

Sexual Activity (vigorous) vs. Vacuuming vs. Mopping
Sexual activity burns calories, but not nearly as many as you might believe. You’re looking at 105 calories (about one tablespoon of butter) per hour, and with the average encounter lasting only 12 minutes, including foreplay, there’s not much of a burn there. In terms of calories, you might be better off vacuuming or mopping the house, which can burn as many as 245 calories (about 61 Reese’s Pieces candies) but probably won’t be as much fun.

Badminton vs. Archery (non-hunting) vs. Pool
With a net, a birdie (that’s the thing you hit) and a racquet, you can play badminton right in your back yard, burning 315 calories (one serving of steamed shrimp dumplings) per hour. You can get a complete set for about $49.95. Archery burns a bit less at 245 calories (about one McDonald’s Hamburger) and costs a bit more to get started. Playing pool is as simple as going to your neighborhood bar or pool hall, and will burn as much as 175 calories (about two Pizza Hut Cinnamon Sticks) per hour.

Frisbee vs. Darts vs. Bowling
Believe it or not, bowling burns as many calories as Frisbee--about 210 calories (two light beers) per hour. But if you really want to get a workout, try playing Ultimate Frisbee (sort of like soccer, football and rugby with a flying disc), which burns 560 calories per hour (3.3 ounces of Planters Mixed Nuts). And good, old-fashioned darts burns about 175 calories per hour (about 14 Almond Joy Bites).

Horseshoes vs. Shuffleboard
Both of these common activities for retirees, cruise ship voyagers and kids in camp burn 210 calories (three Aunt Jemima pancakes) per hour.

CHARLES STUART PLATKIN is an Active Expert , nutrition and public health advocate, author of the bestseller Breaking the Pattern (Plume, 2005), The Diet Detective's Count Down (Simon & Schuster, 2007) and founder of Integrated Wellness Solutions. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter at

Copyright 2007 by Charles Stuart Platkin

  • 2
  • of
  • 2

Discuss This Article