With the World Cup getting to its most intense moments, you might be thinking about how much the players on the field actually move during the 90-minute games. On average, soccer players run about 7 miles per game, and some players run upwards of 10 miles in a single game. Covering this much of the field at staggering speeds of up to 20 mph in World Cup play with no time-outs – it’s not surprising that players might make the most of an “injury” to take a break for water and a little rest!
If the World Cup has inspired you to get moving while enjoying the fun of team sports, you may be wondering which sports are the most intense in terms of running and calories burned. Soccer is by far one of the most physically challenging sports—particularly at the professional level—but there are numerous sports that can get your heart racing.
Unlike soccer, football is a game filled with timeouts and breaks in game play, which hinders the amount of time players are actually on the field. Cornerbacks and running backs run the most in a game—about 1.5 miles on average. However, playing in a casual setting with players running offensive and defensive plays, the sport is a bit more active.
Baseball is another sport where athletes aren’t actually on their feet much during the game—especially dedicated hitters who don’t play in the field. Even when players are running, they only have to cover 90 feet between each base (which means most players don't even break half-a-mile during a game.)
A small playing area does not necessarily mean that players won’t be covering a lot of ground. Tennis players can run up to 5 miles in a five-set match, so it’s no wonder these court players maintain such lean, muscular figures.
You might think that basketball is one of the most running-heavy sports, but players run less than you may imagine. The highest running average of any NBA player in 2012 was 2.72 miles, which is well below the typical estimate of 5 miles per game.
Non-running calorie burners
Running isn’t the only indicator of a sport’s intensity though, and this is proven by a handful of sports that burn serious calories without any running at all. Rock climbing and swimming both burn more than 300 calories every half hour and don’t require a single stride on the pavement. Don’t be fooled, though; these sports still challenge your body in many other ways.