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Sweeping Or Skydiving? When Counting Calories It's All The Same

Skydiving and vacuuming burn the same number of calories. So what'll it be, thrills or a clean carpet?
Mary McLain
/
NPR
Skydiving and vacuuming burn the same number of calories. So what'll it be, thrills or a clean carpet?

Sure, playing in the women's World Cup burns a lot more energy than watching the women's World Cup. But the number of calories expended in sports and daily activities isn't always so obvious.

To figure it out, we dove into this database compiled by Arizona State University. It charts the energy expenditure for hundreds of activities, from mainstream ("bicycling, leisure, 5.5 mph") to obscure ("caulking, chinking log cabin").

As part of our sports and health series and poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, we've picked a few of our favorites.

Calories burned by a 200-pound person in 30 minutes:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mary Mclain
Meredith Rizzo is a visuals editor and art director on NPR's Science desk. She produces multimedia stories that illuminate science topics through visual reporting, animation, illustration, photography and video. In her time on the Science desk, she's reported from Hong Kong during the early days of the pandemic, photographed the experiences of the first patient to receive an experimental CRISPR treatment for sickle cell disease and covered post-wildfire issues from Australia to California. In 2021, she worked with a team on NPR's Joy Generator, a randomized ideas machine for ways to tap into positive emotions following a year of life in the pandemic. In 2019, she photographed, reported and produced another interactive visual guide exploring how the shape and size of many common grocery store plastics affect their recyclability.
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