What is the average number of calories burned for a cycling class at the gym, and how does it compare to workout routines such as step and kickboxing?

Research suggests you can burn roughly the same number of calories, 300-450, in all these fitness classes, although your exact calorie burn depends on how hard you work, your weight and, of course, the length of the workout routines. "The difference in calorie burn tends not to be large enough to justify selecting an activity you're not enthusiastic about," says Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.

One study on calories burned cycling found that in a typical 39-minute class -- including an 11-minute warm-up and a three-minute cool-down -- female participants who weighed from 100-133 pounds routinely had an average of 346 calories burned cycling.

In a step class, the calorie burn correlates in part with step height. For a 150-pound person, burning 300 calories in a step class takes 32 minutes on a 6-inch step, 30 minutes on an 8-inch step and 28 minutes on a 10-inch step. So, depending on step height, a 40-minute class might burn 375-429 calories -- fewer if you weigh less than 150 pounds.

Research on kickboxing found that women who weighed an average of 129 pounds burned about 350-450 calories during a typical 55-minute class. Movements that used both the upper and lower body burned the most calories -- about 8.3 per minute.

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