Balance boards are a category of fitness equipment that is used to train balance. Interestingly enough, these can also help you burn more calories.
Balance equipment options generally don’t invoke images of people burning off huge amounts of calories. And while the amounts are indeed not that big, balance boards, including wobble boards, rocker boards, roller boards, etc. do add small amounts.
The average individual burns around 44 – 76+ calories per 30 minutes of standing (and typing) on a balance board. This is not that much but a nice bonus of your balance training.
When it comes to the different balance board exercises, the estimations are less precise.
One method of roughly estimating the number of calories burned with these is taking the estimation of the regular exercise and assuming that the balance board versions burn slightly more.
In that case, balancing on one leg would burn slightly more than around 41 – 71+ calories per 15 minutes, balance board squats more than around 56- 97 calories per 15 minutes, and balance board mountain climbers more than around 118 – 203 calories per 15 minutes.
Biggest influences on calories burned
A fact that many people find annoying is that the number of calories you burn while doing something like using a balance board is hard to predict and measure correctly.
This fact can make things like weight loss feel like a guessing game when you are trying to balance these numbers with the calories in food.
Even so, good estimations for the number of calories burned with a balance board can be a helpful starting point. By taking a few important factors into account you can make your estimations more accurate.
Some of the biggest factors that influence how many calories you burn while using a balance board include:
- Weight: To move around your body needs energy, measured in calories. The more you weigh, the more energy your body needs to fuel its movements.
- Body composition: Body composition is how much of your body weight is made up of different tissue. Two people can weigh the same but for one individual most of the weight can come from fat while the second individual has a lot of muscle. The reason that is important is that the same weight of muscle requires more energy than that weight in fat.
- Exercise choice: If you’re looking at calories burned per minute of balance board exercises, this can vary a lot from exercise to exercise. Something like balance board mountain climbers will burn more calories than balancing on one leg.
- Extra weights: In certain balance board exercises you can use extra weights to make the movement more challenging. This will require more energy from your body.
Estimations calories burned on a balance board
To calculate calories burned during certain exercises you can use a formula with MET values. A MET value is an exercise-specific value to indicate how intense a specific type of workout is.
This number represents how many times more intense the activity is compared to sitting still.
You can use this in the following formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
One study measured the difference in the number of calories burned between doing a typing task while sitting, standing, and standing on a balance board (1).
The absolute average of the number of calories burned per minute while standing on the balance board (1.48) is not that helpful since the weight of the participants is likely not the same as you.
However, it is possible to use the ratio of calories burned in the study between sitting and standing on a balance board on the MET estimation of sitting and typing (2).
This results in a MET estimation of 1.5 for standing (and typing) on a balance board. The first table below will show estimations for this MET for different body weights and time intervals.
Additionally, it is possible to do other exercises on balance boards. To estimate the number of calories burned with these, you can take the calorie-burning estimation of the regular exercise (for example squats) and assume you will burn slightly more calories than that with the balance board version.
One study compared the respiratory activity (breathing speed) and heart rate between balance exercises on a flat surface vs on a different balance equipment option, a Bosu Ball. These were higher when using a Bosu Ball (3). This implies that the balance versions of exercises will burn more calories.
Again keep in mind that the numbers below are estimations. This formula doesn’t take into account certain important factors that do influence the number of calories burned with a balance board.
Additionally, to put these estimations into perspective, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contains about 87 calories (4).
Calories burned standing on a balance board
One of the most convenient ways to see how many calories you burned while standing on a balance board is by looking at how much time you did this.
The numbers below are for typing while standing on a balance board. Keep in mind that moving with your hands increases the number of calories burned. If you don’t fidget with your hands the numbers will be slightly lower.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||1 calorie||22 calories||44 calories||66 calories||89 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||2 calories||27 calories||55 calories||82 calories||110 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||2 calories||33 calories||66 calories||98 calories||131 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||3 calories||38 calories||76 calories||114 calories||152 calories|
Calories burned with balance board exercises
There are multiple ways to use a balance board besides just standing on it. You can also do exercises like pushups, mountain climbers, squats, etc. with this piece of fitness equipment.
How many calories you will burn with these depends a lot on the specific exercises. To estimate these amounts you can look at the estimation of the regular exercise and then assume you are burning slightly more calories with the balance board version.
Below you can find the estimations of calories burned when doing calisthenics (bodyweight) exercises at three different intensities and just standing for 30 minutes.
Light effort includes exercises like standing on one leg and moving your arms a lot, moderate effort includes examples like pushups and squats, and vigorous effort includes exercises like mountain climbers.
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||83 calories||112 calories||236 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||103 calories||139 calories||293 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||122 calories||166 calories||350 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||142 calories||193 calories||406 calories|
How long should you stand on a balance board
It is also possible that you have a specific goal in terms of how many calories you want to burn by standing on a balance board. Below you can find estimations for different calorie counts and different weights.
As you can see, just standing on a balance board is not great for burning calories.
|Calorie Count |
|50 Calories||100 Calories||300 Calories||500 Calories|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||34 minutes||68 minutes||203 minutes||339 minutes|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||27 minutes||55 minutes||164 minutes||273 minutes|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||23 minutes||46 minutes||137 minutes||229 minutes|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||20 minutes||39 minutes||118 minutes||197 minutes|
How to burn more calories with a balance board
How many calories you burn with a balance board is certainly not something set in stone. There are a few ways you can increase this amount per time interval.
The challenge for most people is fitting in activities in their busy schedules. They want to burn as many calories in the least amount of time, which means burning more calories per minute of using a balance board.
If you do have more time, spending more time doing balance board exercises will generally burn more calories although at some point overtraining may cause the reverse.
A more obvious way to burn more calories with balance boards is by choosing more intense exercises where you move your body faster and challenge your muscles more.
The second way to burn more calories while using a balance board is by making the weight your body has to move heavier.
You can do this by using extra weights as long as your balance board, balance, and body can deal with the extra weight. Your options for this vary a lot from exercise to exercise.
Another way to increase the weight your body has to move around is by building extra muscle mass with other workouts.
Are balance boards good for weight loss?
Balance board workouts can help you burn nice amounts of calories, especially the ones with more intense exercises. In combination with good habits in other lifestyle areas, this can then help you lose weight.
One pound of body fat is about 3500 calories (one kg +-8000 calories). How long it takes to see weight loss results from using a balance board will also depend on the number of calories in your diet.
One person might eat more than the other. This might make it so they need to exercise longer or more intensely to see the same weight loss results. You can even lose weight without exercising so there are many factors that influence it.
Adding 30 minutes of moderate effort balance board exercises a day could help you burn an extra 1390 calories in 10 days which is about 0.4 pounds of body fat. 30 days, 4170 calories (= +- 1.19 pounds of body fat), and so on…
Should you use a balance board to burn calories?
Doing balance board exercises can be a good workout and help you burn nice amounts of calories. Mostly, the more intense exercises.
That being said, there are also plenty of other activities that can help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
It is likely smarter to see the number of calories burned during your balance exercises as a nice bonus on top of the other balance board benefits and turn to other exercise options if burning calories is your main focus.
Whether you should choose balance board exercises as your main form of workout ultimately also depends on factors like personal preference.
If calorie burning is one of your main goals and you regularly use a balance board, implementing some exercises in your schedule specifically for building muscle can be helpful.
The extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories day in, day out, including during your balance board sessions.
Also keep in mind that the things you eat stay important no matter what movement routine you’re following. It’s hard to out-exercise a bad diet.