The Most Exhausting Sports: How Does Your Favorite Stack Up?


Whether you’re an athlete or just a fan, it’s impossible to deny the grueling nature of professional sports. From the physical demands to the mental stress, every sport requires a certain level of endurance and commitment to succeed. But which sport is the most exhausting of them all? Here, we’ve broken down some of the most popular sports by their level of difficulty, so you can see how your favorite stacks up.

Endurance Sports

Endurance sports are defined as those that require long periods of physical exertion, often involving repetitive motions. These sports include marathon running, cycling, and triathlons. While these sports may not have the intense contact of some other sports, they require an incredible amount of stamina and mental fortitude. According to a study by Runner’s World, the average marathon runner burns around 2,600 calories during the race, while a triathlete can burn up to 10,000.

Sport Calories Burned per Hour
Marathon Running 600-800
Cycling 500-1,200
Triathlon 1,000-1,200

Combat Sports

Combat sports include boxing, wrestling, and mixed martial arts (MMA). These sports require a combination of physical strength, agility, and mental fortitude. Fighters must maintain their stamina throughout the entire match, even as they absorb hits and grapple with their opponent. One study found that MMA fighters can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour during training.

Sport Calories Burned per Hour
Boxing 600-800
Wrestling 500-700
MMA 800-1,000

Basketball and Soccer

Basketball and soccer are two of the most popular team sports in the world, and both require a significant amount of physical exertion. In addition to the constant running and jumping, players must also maintain their focus and decision-making skills throughout the game. According to one study, basketball players can burn up to 600 calories per hour, while soccer players can burn up to 900.

Sport Calories Burned per Hour
Basketball 500-700
Soccer 700-900

American Football

American football is a unique sport that requires a combination of strength, speed, and strategy. Players must be able to absorb hits from their opponents while also running, jumping, and throwing the ball. According to one study, players can burn up to 600 calories per hour during practice.

Sport Calories Burned per Hour
American Football 500-700


Gymnastics is a sport that requires a high degree of flexibility, strength, and balance. Gymnasts must be able to perform a variety of exercises, from flips and twists to handstands and splits. This sport can be particularly exhausting due to the high level of focus and concentration required. According to one study, gymnasts can burn up to 500 calories per hour during practice.

Sport Calories Burned per Hour
Gymnastics 400-600


No matter what sport you play or follow, it’s clear that each one requires a significant amount of effort and dedication. From endurance sports like marathon running to combat sports like boxing and MMA, every sport has its own unique challenges and demands. By understanding the physical and mental requirements of each sport, we can gain a greater appreciation for the athletes who compete at the highest level.