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The Olympic Sport That Burns the Most Calories


I think watching the Olympics is actually causing me to workout less than I typically do! Rather than be inspired to get up and move, I’m glued to my TV set all hours of the night watching Aly Raisman’s beam score get adjusted, Michael Phelps break Olympic records, and Jessica Ennis kill it during the seven part heptathlon leaving me too tired for my a.m. workouts. So it’s left me thinking: If I, an average woman, got up and did some of my favorite Olympic sports rather than just watch them, how many calories would I burn?

The folks over at BodyMedia pulled data from hundreds of BodyMedia Armband wearers (not Olympians) and found out. I'm sure the athletes are burning much more but this looks like a good start to me!

Here’s how my favorite Olympic sports stack up:

Watching tv (that’s me): 1.5 calories per minute
Diving: 3
Badminton: 5.5
Gymnastics: 5.6 (wouldn’t you think it would be waaay more than badminton?)
Volleyball: 6.64
Beach volleyball: 8
Soccer: 8.83
Water polo: 10

Check out the infographic below to see how your favorite sport stacks up. Did any of these surprise you? Please share in the comments below. 


As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.


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