Burn 500 calories each day to lose approximately 1 pound each week.

Does It Matter How Long It Takes You to Burn 500 Calories as Long as You Burn Them?

by Lisa M. Wolfe

Five hundred calories is the magic daily number when trying to lose weight. Many activities burn 500 calories, but some take longer than others. It doesn't matter how long it takes to burn your calories, if you're doing it safely. If you're trying to reach a daily goal of a 500-calorie reduction, choose activities you enjoy and use caution when exercising for an extended amount of time.

500 Calories

A pound contains 3,500 calories. Most exercise programs recommend a reduction of 500 calories each day to lose 1 pound each week. You can do this through a combination of diet and exercise, if you're struggling to reach the 500-calorie mark with your activity level. Speak with your doctor first, but aim to reduce your daily calorie intake by 250 and increase your calorie output by 250 to lose 1 pound a week.

Aerobic Activities

Aerobic exercises are the fastest way to burn calories and contribute to your weight loss. These are activities that elevate your heart rate to a level that leaves you breathless, but able to carry on a conversation. Choose from exercises such as walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, sports, dancing and stair climbing. On average, a 140-pound woman burns approximately 7.6 calories each minute when walking. You have to walk for one hour and seven minutes to burn 500 calories.


The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 to 60 minutes of daily aerobic activity if you exercise at a moderate intensity level. You reduce your duration when you increase your intensity. You don't have to do all of your calorie-burning at once. You can separate your workouts into smaller segments throughout the day such as three 10-minute sessions.


If you find yourself extending your workout duration beyond one or two hours a day to reach 500 calories, use caution and be aware of signs of overtraining. If you feel extreme fatigue, irritability, thirst or muscle soreness, you may be exercising too long. Look for other signs such as headaches, nausea, insomnia, joint pain and lack of appetite too. If you experience any of these, reduce your exercise time and speak with your doctor.

About the Author

A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.

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