Is 500 calories good to burn a day?

Quick Answer

Burning 500 calories per day through exercise and daily activity is a healthy goal for most adults. For weight loss, experts often recommend aiming to burn 300-500 calories per day through exercise. Along with diet changes, burning an extra 500 calories a day can lead to losing about 1 pound per week. Burning 500 calories requires about 60-90 minutes of moderate exercise like brisk walking or 30-45 minutes of vigorous exercise like running. Overall, 500 calories is a sustainable and effective amount for most people to burn through daily activity and exercise.

How Many Calories Should You Burn Per Day?

The number of calories you should aim to burn per day depends on your goals:

For weight loss:

– Experts recommend aiming to burn 300-500 calories per day through exercise. This, combined with cutting 250-500 calories from your diet, can lead to 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week.

For weight maintenance:

– Aim to burn 100-300 calories per day through exercise and daily activity. This helps counteract little indulgences and keeps your weight stable.

For overall health:

– Burning at least 150-300 calories per day supports heart health, disease prevention, better sleep, stress management and more. Any activity is better than none.

So in general, 500 calories per day is an appropriate goal for weight loss or maintenance and overall health benefits for most adults. Adjust up or down based on your needs and abilities.

How to Burn 500 Calories Per Day

Here are some examples of exercise that burns about 500 calories:

Brisk walking (3.5 mph) for 60-90 minutes

Brisk walking at 3.5 miles per hour for 60-90 minutes will burn around 500 calories for most people. Walking is accessible, free and a lower-impact cardio activity. Increase the duration or intensity to burn more calories.

Jogging/running for 30-45 minutes

Jogging or running at 5-6 miles per hour for 30-45 minutes will burn close to 500 calories for most people. Running is convenient, efficient calorie-burning cardio exercise. Go further or faster to increase calories burned.

Swimming laps for 45-60 minutes

Swimming at a moderate pace for 45-60 minutes will burn about 500 calories for most people. Swimming works your whole body and is easy on the joints. Vary your strokes and intensity level to burn more.

HIIT workouts for 30 minutes

High intensity interval training (HIIT) mixes short bursts of intense activity with rest periods. A 30-minute HIIT workout can burn over 500 calories. HIIT spikes metabolism and is time-efficient.

Cycling for 30-45 minutes

Biking at a moderate pace (10-14 mph) for 30-45 minutes typically burns around 500 calories. Cycling is a low-impact cardio workout that’s easy on joints but gets your heart rate up. Increase distance or speed to burn more.

Other Options

Other workouts that can burn 500 calories in 30-60 minutes include aerobics classes, boxing, dancing, martial arts, circuit training, rowing, stair climbing, jumping rope, and more.

You can also accumulate calories burned through shorter 10-20 minute sessions of activity throughout the day. The options are endless! Choose exercises you enjoy and mix it up.

Is 500 Calories Per Day Enough For Weight Loss?

Burning about 500 calories per day through exercise, along with cutting 250-500 calories from your diet, can lead to weight loss of about 1-2 pounds per week. This is a safe, sustainable rate of weight loss for most people.

Here is a table showing estimated weight loss calorie deficits:

Daily Calorie Deficit Estimated Weekly Weight Loss
500 calories 1 pound
750 calories 1.5 pounds
1000 calories 2 pounds

Cutting 750-1000 calories per day through diet and exercise leads to faster weight loss but is more aggressive and difficult to sustain. Most experts recommend aiming for a 500 calorie per day deficit for lasting results.

Along with monitoring calories burned during workouts, be sure to track your overall daily activity with a fitness tracker or app. Steps, household tasks and other movement also contribute to calories burned.

How Fast Can You Lose Weight By Burning 500 Calories Per Day?

By maintaining a 500 calorie per day deficit, you can expect to lose about 1 pound per week on average. Over 6 months, that would equal about 25 pounds of weight loss. Here is an estimated weight loss timeline burning 500 calories daily:

1 month: 4 pounds

3 months: 12 pounds

6 months: 25 pounds

1 year: 50 pounds

Of course, real weight loss depends on many factors like your starting weight, diet, muscle mass, health conditions, and more. But burning 500 calories per day creates a moderate calorie deficit for consistent, healthy weight loss over time.

Health Benefits of Burning 500 Calories Per Day

Along with supporting weight loss, maintaining an active lifestyle and burning 500 calories daily provides many additional health benefits:

Improves heart and cardiovascular health:

Regular exercise reduces risk for heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

Prevents diabetes and metabolic disease:

Activity helps control blood sugar and insulin levels.

Reduces some cancer risk:

Being active is linked to lower risks for several cancers.

Strengthens bones and muscles:

Exercise helps prevent osteoporosis and age-related muscle loss.

Boosts mood and energy:

Physical activity increases feel-good endorphins and reduces depression/anxiety.

Enhances brain function:

It improves memory, learning, focus and overall cognitive performance.

Promotes better sleep:

Daily activity helps you fall asleep faster and get higher quality sleep.

Helps manage stress:

Exercise is proven to relieve tension, relax the body and reduce perceived stress.

Supports immunity:

Activity mobilizes immune cells to help fend off bacteria and viruses.

Is Burning 500 Calories Per Day Realistic?

Burning 500 extra calories per day is certainly realistic for most healthy adults with the right motivation and time commitment. It requires about 60-90 minutes of brisk walking, 30-45 minutes of running, or 30 minutes of vigorous swimming, cycling, aerobics or other exercise.

Along with planned exercise sessions, look for ways to be more active in daily routines – take the stairs, walk further distances, do yardwork and house cleaning, pace while on the phone, fidget, and take activity breaks. Little bursts of activity add up over the day.

That said, start low and gradually increase your activity level for safety and sustainability. If you are currently sedentary, ramp up to 500 calories per day over weeks/months to prevent injury. Mix up moderate and vigorous intensity, and take rest days for recovery.

Pay attention to your habits and schedule. Find workout times that realistically work for you. Join an exercise class, set reminders to move daily, find an accountability partner, download fitness apps, or use other strategies to build exercise into your lifestyle.

Tips For Burning 500 Calories Per Day

Here are some top tips for realistically burning about 500 calories through exercise and activity each day:

– Mix up cardio, strength training and HIIT workouts to burn calories in diverse ways. This also prevents boredom and overuse injuries.

– Include both moderate (brisk walking, casual cycling) and vigorous (running, swimming laps) intensity exercise each week. Variety is key.

– Consider your schedule and habits to find sustainable workout times. Couple workouts with a daily habit.

– Set reminders on your phone or fitness tracker to move throughout the day, not just during planned exercise sessions.

– Buy an activity tracker or download a fitness app to monitor steps and calories burned. Awareness helps you keep reaching daily goals.

– Recruit a friend, join fitness classes, or use other strategies to stay motivated and accountable to your calorie burning goals.

– Stay hydrated and fuel your body with whole foods to get the most out of workouts. Refuel appropriately after exercise.

– Listen to your body and take occasional rest days to allow muscles to recover and repair. Consistency over the long-term matters most.

Risks of Burning 500 Calories Daily

For most people, burning 500 calories per day through exercise is safe and beneficial. But take precautions against overdoing it with these risks:

– Injury: Ramping up exercise too quickly can lead to sprains, strains and tears from overuse. Build activity gradually and include rest days.

– Joint pain: High-impact exercise can aggravate joints. Choose low-impact activities like swimming, cross-training shoes and modify moves as needed.

– Fatigue and burnout: Excessive exercise without adequate recovery causes extreme tiredness. Schedule rest days and easy workouts.

– Hunger and overeating: A 500 calorie deficit daily can make you very hungry. Eat nutrient-dense whole foods to properly fuel workouts and manage appetite.

– Low blood sugar: Intense or prolonged exercise can sometimes cause blood sugar to dip too low, leading to dizziness. Carry quick sugar sources like glucose tablets.

– Dehydration and electrolyte loss: Drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids during and after activity to prevent dehydration and salt/mineral depletion.

Overall, burning 500 calories per day through exercise is safe when built up gradually, listened to your body’s signals, fueled properly, and balanced with rest. Enjoy the journey!


Burning 500 calories per day through exercise and physical activity is an appropriate goal for most healthy adults looking to lose weight or improve overall health and fitness. It requires about 60-90 minutes of brisk walking, 30-45 minutes of running or cycling, or 30 minutes of vigorous swimming, aerobic classes or similar workout.

Along with planned exercise sessions, look for ways to increase general daily movement through steps, household tasks and activity breaks. When combined with cutting 250-500 calories from your diet, burning 500 calories daily creates a moderate calorie deficit for healthy weight loss of about 1-2 pounds per week.

Make your 500 calorie burning goal sustainable with workout variety, listening to your body, proper rest and recovery, and a nutrition plan to properly fuel activity. The health benefits are extensive – from supporting heart health, to regulating blood sugar, reducing cancer risk, building stronger bones and muscles, improving brain function and sleep quality, and managing stress.

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