EPOC = Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (post-workout calorie burn)
The reason weight training has such a prolonged calorie-burn effect is because the greater the intensity, the more oxygen your body will need post-workout to recover and repair muscles, explains Miranda. By choosing exercises that ramp up that afterburn effect, “you get more bang for your buck in the long term,” she says. “Muscle is the most metabolically active tissue, so the more of it we have, the more effective we are at burning calories all day long.”
But yeah, which exercises burn the most calories exactly? Unsurprisingly, on a list of the best burners below—ranked in order of effectiveness—aerobic exercise tends to win in terms of immediate results. (FYI: Calorie burn is estimated for a 125-pound person and a 185-pound person, according to guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine. The more you weigh, the more calories you tend to burn on any particular task—but a lot of other factors come in to play, too, so this isn’t an exact science.) But there a quite a few top contenders from the weight category too.
No matter which type of workouts you choose, opt for the “bonus burn”—tips from Miranda and New York City-based trainer Noam Tamir, CSCS, owner of TS Fitness—to torch even more total calories.
- 10 Best Exercises For Weight Loss
- 8 exercises that burn stomach fat fast
- 5 Low-Impact Exercises that Burn Crazy Calories
- What’s the Best Low-Impact Cardio For Fat Loss?
- How Often Do I Need to Do Low-Impact Cardio to Burn Fat?
- Which Cardio Methods Melt Fat The Fastest?
- Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise
- Aerobic Training Methods & Their Advantages
- 1. Walking (Burns 300-400 Calories Per Hour)
- 2. Running (Burns Around 600 Calories Per Hour)
- 3. Cycling (Burns Around 600 Calories Per Hour)
- 4. Rowing (Burns Around 840 Calories Per Hour)
- 5. Swimming (Burns Around 600 Calories Per Hour)
- 6. Jumping Rope (Burns Over 1000 Calories Per Hour)
- 7. HIIT
- Aerobic Training Guidelines
- What is Low-Impact Exercise?
- When Should You Consider Low-Impact Exercise?
- 17 Top Low-Impact Exercises for Weight Loss
- Give These Low-Impact Exercises a Try Today
10 Best Exercises For Weight Loss
1. Jumping rope
The burn: 667–990 calories/hour if you’re jumping at 120 skips per minute
The bonus burn: Try using a weighted jump rope to engage your arms and shoulders even more.
For a full-body workout challenge, give this calorie-torching jump rope workout from Carrie Underwood’s trainer a try. BTW: It helped her score those iconic legs.
2. Running Up Hill/Stair Sprints
The burn: 639–946 calories/hour
The bonus burn: “You want to sprint at a pace that you can only maintain for about 20 seconds, and follow that with a recovery run at half of the intensity of the sprint and double the time,” says Miranda.
The burn: 582–864 calories/hour
The bonus burn: Make sure you keep the rest periods between rounds of jabs and kicks super short. Aim for 30 seconds of rest for every 90 seconds of sparring.
Try this boxing workout for the ultimate burn.
4. Cycling intervals
The burn: 568–841 calories/hour
The bonus burn: Adding high intensity intervals throughout a steady state or low-intensity ride will increase the afterburn even more.
The burn: 566–839 calories/hour at a 10-minute mile pace
The bonus burn: Run at a steady state pace (i.e. a 7 out of 10 in terms of effort), and you’ll continue to burn extra calories over the rest of the day.
To torch more during and after your workout, add short bursts of sprints or faster running into your jog, says Tamir. He recommends keeping a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio to get the most afterburn. For example, if you run for 60 seconds, walk 30 seconds.
6. Kettlebell circuit
The burn: 554–822 calories/hour
The bonus burn: Tamir says that a HIIT circuit using kettlebells can keep the afterburn going for 36 hours after you leave the gym. To get the best results, make sure you’re not stopping to rest between each move.
Tamir recommends switching between upper- and lower-body movements so you can keep exercising for a longer period of time. Try doing a set of kettlebell swings, kettlebell squats, and kettlebell push presses. Then, rest for 15 to 20 seconds after completing the three moves. You could also pick and choose some other moves from the best kettlebell exercises.
Or, try these seven kettlebell moves for awesome abs from the video below.
7. Stationary bike
The burn: 498–738 calories/hour (at a vigorous pace)
The bonus burn: To get the most afterburn, Tamir says to start with 10 seconds of intense pedaling (100 RPMs or more) and 50 seconds of rest. Then, move to 15 seconds of sprints and 45 seconds of rest, and do 20 seconds of sprints 40 seconds of rest after that. Don’t forget to turn up the resistance as you progress!
Or, try this metabolism-blasting cycling workout.
8. Rowing machine
The burn: 481–713 calories/hour at 150 watts, which you can check on the machine
The bonus burn: To get maximum torching power, row in super-fast, one-minute intervals (150 watts), and take 30- to 60-second active rest periods by alternating between squats, pushups, and planks.
Another option is this high-intensity rowing workout, which will get your heart racing.
9. Loaded kettlebell carries
The burn: 476–705 calories/hour
The bonus burn: Walking with weighted kettlebells forces you to practice strong posture and core control. “My fav method is the three-in-one,” says Miranda. “Start walking with two kettlebells overhead, walk as far as you can until you need to stop. Then, drop the bells to the front racked position and continue walking until you need to stop again. Finally, drop them down to the farmer’s carry position (at your sides), and continue walking as long as you can.” This is one cycle, rest two minutes, then repeat.
Try some of these other great kettlebell exercises if you’re looking for more ways to work with the weight.
The burn: 452–670 calories/hour when going 77 steps per minute
The bonus burn: To up the ante, hold a one- to five-pound dumbbell in each hand to get your upper body fired up, too.
Bottom line: Whether you’re working the Stair Master or running steps around town, à la Rocky, stair climbing provides a good mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Macaela Mackenzie Macaela Mackenzie is a freelance journalist specializing in health, culture, and tech, and she regularly contributes to outlets like Prevention, Women’s Health, Shape, Allure, Men’s Health, the John Hopkins Health Review, and more. Ashley Mateo Ashley Mateo is a writer, editor, and UESCA-certified running coach who has contributed to Runner’s World, Bicycling, Women’s Health, Health, Shape, Self, and more.
8 exercises that burn stomach fat fast
1: Running or walking
Okay, you’re probably thinking, ‘How does moving your legs shrink those love handles?’ Well, the truth is there’s no way to target belly fat. Your genetics get to decide where the fat settles in your body, so the best thing to do is start moving.
As you exercise, calories are burned and your body fat percentage decreases. So, exercising not only helps you lose belly fat, it also sheds fat from other areas. Running and walking are two of the best fat-burning exercises. Plus, the only equipment you need is a good pair of shoes. Between the two, running burns more calories, but walking really isn’t too far behind.
Running and walking can be part of your interval training routine and do not forget to warm up and cool down if your take up running for weight loss.
2: Elliptical trainer
Some of us no longer have the strong joints we had as teenagers. Jogging is out of the question and walking doesn’t cut it. The good news is elliptical trainers provide an intense, low impact cardio workout. In fact, a 145-lb. person can burn about 300 calories in 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer. That’s about as many calories as running burns, but without the joint wear-and-tear.
Bicycling is another great low impact cardio exercise. Not to mention, it’s a great way to travel or see the countryside. Depending on the speed and intensity the average person can burn between 250 to 500 calories during a 30-minute bike ride.
4: The bicycle exercise
Burning body and belly fat with cardio exercises is half the battle. Next is strengthening abdominal muscles so you have something to show once the fat is shed. In a recent study, ab exercises were ranked from best to worst. The bicycle exercise ranked as #1 because it requires abdominal stabilization, body rotation, and more abdominal muscle activity.
These are some bicycle exercises you can do before you hop on your bike:
-Lie on your back with hands behind your head
-Raise knees to your chest while lifting head and shoulders off the ground
-Bring the right elbow to your left knee and straighten the right leg
-Switch sides – bring the left elbow to your right knee and straighten the left leg
-Continue switching sides to simulate a pedaling motion
-Breathing should be relaxed and even
-Do 1-3 sets with 12-16 repetitions
#5: The Captain’s chair leg raise
For this exercise you require a captain’s chair which is found in most gyms. The chair has a padded back and armrests with grips. Your legs hang free.
-Stand on the chair and grab the hand bars
-Keep your back flat against the pad while raising knees to your chest
-Then lower legs back down
-For added intensity, keep legs straight when you raise them
-Do 1-3 sets with 12-16 repetitions
# 6: Exercise ball crunch
This exercise needs a lot of stabilization which engages more muscles. You’ll need an exercise ball.
-Lie on the ball so your lower back is supported and feet are firmly planted on the ground
-Place hands across chest or behind the head
-Contract abs and lift your torso up and forward
-Lower back down
-Keep the ball stable during each crunch
-Exhale when you crunch; inhale when you lower back down
-Do 1-3 sets with 12-16 repetitions
# 7: Vertical leg crunch
The vertical leg crunch is similar to a regular crunch. But it requires you to keep your legs straight, which makes the abs work harder and increases the workout’s intensity.
-Lie down with hands behind your head
-Put your legs straight up with knees crossed
-Flex abs to lift head and shoulders off the floor
-Lay back down
-Keep legs extended in the air the whole time
-Exhale when you flex; inhale when you lay back down
-Do 1-3 sets with 12-16 repetitions
# 8: Reverse crunch
The reverse crunch was also ranked above regular crunches as the 5th best exercise for strengthening core muscles.
-Lie flat on the floor with arms at your sides
-Cross your feet and lift them off the floor so your knees create a 90-degree angle
-Contract ab muscles and lift head and shoulders off the ground
-Exhale when you contract; inhale when you lower back down
-Do 1-3 sets with 12-16 repetitions
Getting toned abs just got easy
Successfully flattening your stomach is a matter of burning body fat and building muscle. The best way to burn body fat is through cardio exercises such as running, walking, elliptical training, and bicycling. With these exercises, burning stomach fat, shedding love handles, and building a six pack is completely do-able. So send your body the memo: flat abs are in style and it’s time to get yours!
Mike Jackson is nutritional consultant at www.esupplements.com, as well as a freelance writer in the field of health and fitness. He specializes in physique transformation and contest preparation for all levels of competition.
Read also: How to get a flat stomach
5 Low-Impact Exercises that Burn Crazy Calories
If you want to avoid jarring exercises that irritate your ankles, knees, hips and back (or if you want to avoid future injuries), there are a number of low-impact exercises that can give you the same the fat-burning, metabolism-boosting benefits of a high-intensity workout.
The great thing about all of these exercises is that the risk of injury doesn’t increase with the intensity. Which means you can push yourself a little bit harder and know that you’re risking nothing but more calories.
1. Swimming The resistance of the water challenges your muscles to work hard, while simultaneously reducing the impact on your joints. But that’s not the best part: swimming involves your entire body, so while improving your levels of aerobic fitness, you’ll also be building muscle from head to toe. Increase the intensity by challenging yourself to use a variety of strokes.
2. Cycling Riding a bike—indoors or out—is one of the best low-impact cardiovascular workouts you can do. If you’re short on time, you can increase the intensity by using a varied selection of intervals. For example, try pedaling as hard as you can for 40 seconds in an all-out effort, followed by 20 seconds of gentle pedaling; repeat for 6 to 8 rounds. Alternatively you can look for hills to race up before returning to the bottom and going again.
3. Rowing Either in a boat or using a machine, rowing is a powerful and fun way to workout your arms, back, legs, and core muscles. It’s easy to let your form deteriorate as you get tired, so make sure you are pushing with your legs first and allowing your arms and back to follow—not the other way around. Not only will this ensure you stay safe, it’s more efficient and will result in a bigger calorie burn.
4. Yoga When you think of burning calories, yoga might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Perhaps it should be, though, as it’s an amazingly effective, low-impact way to stay strong and lean. Yoga offers a total-body workout that builds strength, flexibility, and overall fitness. It’s so effective because it uses your entire body, as opposed to isolating small muscles groups, which leads to a huge calorie burn. To ensure you’re always challenging yourself, slightly increase the depth of each pose, add time to your workout, or try new, more advanced poses.
5. Stair Climbing Finding a set of stairs can make for a great workout. The motion strengthens the same muscles used for lunges and squats, and taxes your lungs and heart as you power your way to the top. A quick, challenging workout to try: Find a set of stairs that takes 30 seconds to ascend, run (or walk briskly) up each step, and then walk back down to the bottom. Repeat 6 to 8 times.
High-impact cardio — think running, HIIT, CrossFit, plyometric circuits — tends to get most of the attention when it comes to weight loss, but we’re here to tell you that low-impact cardio sessions have their place in your routine too.
“Low-impact exercise is easier on the joints and you can do it more frequently, regardless of your age or fitness level,” said Tom Holland, MS, CSCS, an exercise physiologist and Bowflex fitness advisor. It’s true that high-impact cardio burns more calories and builds up your bone density, Tom said, “but that comes with a cost: a significant increase in stress on the body and chance of injury.”
Low-impact cardio is a good choice if you’re a beginner building up your strength and endurance, or if you’re recovering from injury. But you have a few options when it comes to choosing a low-impact workout, so which one should you go for?
What’s the Best Low-Impact Cardio For Fat Loss?
“The most effective form of low-impact cardiovascular exercise for fat loss is that which you do consistently,” Tom told POPSUGAR. Which makes sense: high-impact cardio burns lots of calories in a short amount of time. To burn the same amount through low-impact exercise, you’ll have to commit more time to the workouts. “Frequency becomes the most important factor,” Tom explained, so the workout you can and want to do frequently will be the best one for fat loss.
You have some good options to choose from. Walking is the most popular form of low-impact cardio, Tom said, and it’s been shown to be effective for fat loss. Swimming is another low-impact workout that can help you lose weight, especially with speed intervals — try this beginner’s swim workout for a place to start. Zumba and the elliptical are also effective low-impact cardio workouts. Start with this 20-minute Zumba video or this cardio elliptical circuit for a taste. Experimenting with different kinds of low-impact cardio will help you find what you love, and the variety will keep you invested and excited to work out.
How Often Do I Need to Do Low-Impact Cardio to Burn Fat?
We mentioned the importance of working out frequently when you’re doing low-impact exercise. So, exactly how often should you walk, swim, or hit the elliptical if the goal is weight loss? “As often as possible,” Tom said. He recommended splitting up low-impact sessions throughout your day to get more minutes in. To get just under a full hour of exercise, for example, “you can do a 20-minute walk with the dogs in the morning, a 15-minute walk at lunch, and a 15-minute walk after dinner,” Tom explained. With walking in particular, you can get in these “micro-workouts” without even going to the gym.
If your body is up to high-impact cardio right now, you can incorporate both forms of exercise into your weight-loss routine. Tom recommended the following weekly plan:
- Monday: low-impact, like this treadmill walking workout
- Tuesday: high-impact, like this 30-minute HIIT cardio video
- Wednesday: low-impact, like this swimming interval circuit
- Thursday: high-impact, like this 20-minute treadmill running workout
- Friday: low-impact, like this beginner’s elliptical workout
- Saturday: low-impact, like this yoga-dance cardio video
- Sunday: rest
Since high-impact workouts put you at greater risk of injury, Tom said they’re “generally not something you would want to do every day.” If you’re doing high-impact, mixing those workouts in with lower-impact routines will keep you healthy and engaged in all the different workouts, which will ultimately keep you on the path to weight loss.
Image Source: Getty / filadendron
Which Cardio Methods Melt Fat The Fastest?
Losing stubborn body fat and getting into one’s best possible shape may require at least some aerobic activity. The range of aerobic methods available and the different ways in which to engage in cardio are many—enough to cause confusion for those wanting to shed excess weight to reveal their hard-won muscles.
Question is: what are the best methods of aerobic exercise? Is there a perfect way to lose fat through cardiovascular means, and if so, what is it? Aerobic activity by its very nature requires fat to be used as a primary fuel source, with carbohydrates and protein being used to a smaller extent. Therefore it is obvious that in order to lose fat, some degree of aerobic work will need to be done.
Aerobic activities constitute any form of exercise that is repetitive, long, and hard enough to challenge the heart and lungs.
However, the type of aerobic work needed for fat loss is a subject open to much debate. Aerobic activities (typically done at a moderate intensity, although higher intensity aerobics has been shown burn more calories) constitute any form of exercise that is repetitive, long, and hard enough to challenge the heart and lungs to use oxygen as a fuel source to sustain the body over a longer period (15 to 20 minutes or longer).
Aerobic activities can include:
…and variations on these (the commonality these methods share is that they use the body’s largest muscle groups). The aim of this article is to determine the best forms of aerobic exercise for fat burning, while explaining the reasons why these methods are effective.
With aerobic exercise, oxygen, fats and carbohydrates combine to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the basic fuel source for all cells.
However, given that fat is a more efficient fuel source for aerobic activity—as the body has greater fat stores (which are more easily mobilised in the presence of oxygen) compared to carbohydrates and proteins—it will be used preferentially during aerobic activity, which lasts longer than the short-burst glycogen-using anaerobic activity.
So, aerobic activity done at a moderate intensity (50-75 percent of Maximal Heart Rate , or within the mythological fat burning zone) appears to burn more actual fat, but does it help with greater fat losses over the longer term? Some researchers suggest not.
It appears that exercising aerobically at a higher percentage of MHR (75% or more) burns more in the way of total calories, which adds up to greater fat total losses. (Max Heart Rate is easily calculated by subtracting your age from 220.)
As long as the exercise is performed within the aerobic zone (using oxygen), and does not become anaerobic in nature (instead drawing from carbohydrates for fuel), the higher the intensity the better.
If more total calories are used, as opposed to a comparatively small amount of fat—as is the case with low intensity aerobics—these calories are less likely to be stored and fat losses will be much greater. With higher intensity aerobics, the body ultimately burns a smaller percentage of fat calories from a much larger number of total calories, so in the end more fat calories will be used.
This is not to say that low-intensity aerobics are worthless. As explained later, they do have their place. However, if one is to burn the largest degree of body fat in the shortest amount of time, higher intensity aerobics seem to be the superior method. Let us turn now to the benefits of high intensity versus low intensity aerobics.
Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise
All forms of aerobic training will provide many similar benefits, while high intensity and low intensity methods (although both within the so-called fat burning aerobic zone) have benefits specific to their respective functions.
To determine the exact intensity needed to benefit from a specific aerobic method, first it is important to determine lower and higher end target heart rates (THR). The low end of the target zone is 55% of your MHR. The high end of the target zone is 80% of your MHR. Use the calculator above to determine these numbers (or just subtract your age from 220, then multiply the result by .55 and .80, respectively.)
Aerobic exercise (regardless of intensity) will help to strengthen the muscles.
Aerobic exercise (regardless of intensity) will help to:
- Strengthen the muscles involved in respiration, to assist lung function.
- Increase the total number of red blood cells in the body, to enable greater oxygen facilitation throughout the body.
- Strengthen the heart muscle, which will improve resting heart and pumping efficiency.
- Reduce stress and tension, and increase mental well-being.
- Increase circulation throughout all areas of the body.
- Increase self-esteem.
Lower-to-moderate intensity aerobic activity (50-75 percent of MHR) will:
- Typically provide less impact on the joints, making it ideal for the obese and/or unfit.
- Burn fat directly (as opposed to total calories) and can be done for a longer period.
- Can be used as active recovery from more intensive training systems.
Higher intensity aerobic activity (70-85 percent of MHR) will:
- Will burn more total calories and more total fat as a result.
- Will increase the metabolic rate (during and after training) to a greater degree than will lower intensity aerobics.
- Offer fitness benefits such as improved endurance, strength, and athletic performance.
- Help with the prevention of osteoporosis.
Aerobic Training Methods & Their Advantages
Once the appropriate aerobic intensity has been decided upon (depending on one’s training goals), the type of aerobic exercise to be used can be chosen. Some types are naturally of a higher intensity, while others are lower in intensity; some are suitable for specific sporting goals, while others are best for achieving low body fat for physical definition.
The keys to choosing a good aerobic activity include finding one that is enjoyable and effective to ensure it is used consistently to good effect.
1. Walking (Burns 300-400 Calories Per Hour)
Once thought of as a perfect aerobic exercise for fat burning and overall health, walking is now considered one of the least effective of the aerobic methods.
Although great for beginners or those with injury or who are obese, walking probably is not the best form of exercise for losing weight and achieving fitness, as it is of a much lower intensity compared to other methods.
It is thought that the lower the intensity of an activity, the smaller the number of calories burned per unit of time (it is also thought that 15 minutes of cycling will burn more calories than a 45 minute walk at moderate pace).
Furthermore, metabolism will increase on average for only one-two hours after walking, as opposed to higher intensity aerobic activity where it can be increased for up to 24 hours or longer.
Walking can be used for the following purposes:
- Assisting with fat burning in the obese (who can’t use other methods).
- As a low impact activity for the injured.
- As a moderate activity for recovery purposes (when higher intensity activities might result in overtraining).
- As a build up to a higher intensity method of aerobics.
A good beginner’s walking program could be as follows:
- Frequency: three times a week.
- Intensity: 50-70 percent of MHR.
- Duration: 20-45 minutes per session.
2. Running (Burns Around 600 Calories Per Hour)
A higher intensity method compared to walking, running (not sprinting, which is anaerobic) is an efficient, although high impact way to lose body fat and improve cardiorespiratory fitness.
The main benefit to running for weight loss purposes is that it is sufficiently high intensity to burn a greater number of calories, while stimulating the metabolic rate for a longer period afterward.
The main benefit to running for weight loss purposes is that it is sufficiently high intensity to burn a greater number of calories.
For fat burning purposes, the variation on running that could be considered is jogging, as this method—although higher intensity aerobic—does not cross the anaerobic threshold to burn carbohydrates as a primary fuel source. Running, as does walking, involves all of the lower body, only on a much larger scale.
Specifically, it works the hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps, and gastrocnemius & soleus muscles (calves) to provide a great lower body workout. Running also recruits arms, therefore providing an additional calorie burning effect.
Running can be used for the following purposes:
- To train aerobically at a higher intensity, and burn more fat as a result.
- To recruit muscle fibers in the legs, which could add definition and enhance muscle shape.
- As a sport specific means to improving fitness and athletic performance.
- As a means to increasing metabolic rate for up to 24 hours.
- Can help to prevent osteoporosis due to its high impact nature.
Beginners running program:
- Frequency: three times a week.
- Intensity: 65-85 percent of MHR.
- Duration: 20-30 minutes per session.
3. Cycling (Burns Around 600 Calories Per Hour)
Cycling involves the same muscles as does running, but has the added advantage of being lower impact, therefore making it ideal for virtually anyone (with the exclusion of those with certain injuries).
It can be done on either a stationary bike (the preferred option for those wanting to specifically burn body fat, as there might be fewer distractions with this method), or on the road.
Either of these approaches will suit almost anyone (regardless of cardiovascular goals) as the resistance can be changed to accommodate preferences in intensity level. Cycling is also ideal for HIIT (as will be explained later) as the resistance can be changed from lower to higher in rapid fashion. For bodybuilders, cycling can also carve definition in the frontal quad muscles allowing for greater separation come competition time.
Cycling as an aerobic activity can be useful for the following reasons:
- As a low impact, high intensity way to strip body fat.
- As a sport specific means to improving fitness and athletic performance.
- As a way to help carve detail into the quads.
A beginners cycling program:
- Frequency: three times a week.
- Intensity: 65-85 percent MHR.
- Duration: 30-45 minutes per session.
4. Rowing (Burns Around 840 Calories Per Hour)
Rowing on a machine provides an excellent total body workout, in addition to being a great high intensity way to strip body fat. It could be considered the perfect exercise as it works all the main muscles of the body, is of higher intensity than walking and of lower impact than running, and burns more calories per hour than any other commonly used aerobic exercise (around 840 per hour).
Rowing on a machine provides an excellent total body workout.
Rowing as an aerobic activity can be useful for the following reasons:
- Burn a higher number of calories than any of the other common aerobic methods.
- A total body workout.
- A low impact, high intensity way to keep fit and burn fat.
- As a sport specific means to improving fitness and athletic performance.
5. Swimming (Burns Around 600 Calories Per Hour)
Like rowing, swimming provides a great total body workout, while burning a high number of calories. It is also very low impact as the body is working in a weightless environment (water), and, as a result, there is little risk of injury.
Using the common freestyle stroke will work well for most people, but if at all possible use a variety of strokes in order to place an emphasis on different muscle groups—this change in intensity will help to burn more calories.
Swimming is a great aerobic activity for:
- Lessening the chance of injury as it is the lowest impact of all the aerobic methods.
- Working all the body’s main muscle groups.
- Improving fitness and athletic performance.
- Burning a large number of calories and helping with fat loss.
6. Jumping Rope (Burns Over 1000 Calories Per Hour)
Although a very high impact activity, jumping rope can provide a great aerobic workout if done correctly. It can also add definition to the calves and shoulders, as it works these muscle groups quite vigorously. Probably one of the harder aerobic methods, correctly jumping rope involves a tremendous amount of skill, strength, focus and patience.
Not commonly used as an aerobic method, jumping rope burns a higher number of calories per hour than rowing (over 1000) and is best used for shorter periods, as it might lead to impact injuries of the lower leg or hip if done continuously for too long.
Once mastered, jumping rope is an effective way to:
- Burn a high number of calories.
- Help to prevent osteoporosis due to its high impact nature.
- Improve a wide range of skill components, including explosive strength, stamina and speed (boxer’s jump rope as an integral part of their training).
Jumping rope burns a higher number of calories per hour than rowing (over 1000) and is best used for shorter periods.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is one of the newer and more effective ways to burn body fat. As many have experienced, HIIT provides an intensive aerobic option, which takes a fraction of the time to complete compared to the more traditional cardio methods.
As the name suggests, HIIT incorporates both high intensity aerobic work with a very high intensity component to provide a maximal fat burning effect, and an increased metabolic rate that can last for over 24 hours after training.
Regular aerobic training (although beneficial for fat burning) can place the body into a steady state in that the same pace is maintained throughout. This means the body has adjusted itself to the speed it is going and will try to conserve calories. With HIIT, the steady state problem can be avoided as the intensity is shifted every minute or so.
An example of a HIIT workout is as follows:
Using cycling as an aerobic method, work at a moderate to high intensity pace (75-80 percent of MHR) for two minutes. Quickly change the intensity so that work rate is increased significantly (over 90 percent of MHR) for 30 seconds to one minute. Repeat this process for up to 30 minutes. Running, rowing or swimming are also methods that can be used in a similar context with HIIT.
HIIT is perfect for:
- Raising fat burning hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine.
- Suppressing insulin levels.
- Raising the metabolic rate more so than other methods of cardio.
Aerobic Training Guidelines
As with any from of training, aerobic exercise should be taken slowly during the initial stages of training, especially if one is overweight or in an otherwise untrained state. Walking would be a perfect activity for the novice trainee as it is much less demanding than many of the other methods, and is relatively low impact.
Training too hard too soon might result in injury or burnout. It is also important to start out gradually at the beginning of a workout (if the activity is of a higher intensity) to warm the muscles and lubricate the joints for the work ahead.
Work Within The Target Heart Rate Range
Although the concept of a fat burning zone has been discredited, it is still important to stay within a specified target heart rate range to ensure the body is working at its full capacity. Using the formula given earlier, one could determine the lower and upper limits of the target heart rate range and plan the session accordingly.
Try to work at the upper end if possible to gain greater benefits. Working below the target heart rate range will produce very little effect, while training beyond it could lead to injury.
Training too hard too soon might result in injury or burnout.
Do Not Overdo It
Cardio should be done safely at all times. Trying to do too much will probably have an opposite effect to what is trying to be achieved. Fat burning and other health benefits will occur, so long as the session is no longer than 45 minutes to one hour (this is usually accepted as the appropriate length of time for one who is in good health).
Going beyond this could lead to a repetitive strain injury (depending on the type of activity used), and burn a great of muscle, which will ultimately cause the metabolism to slow down, therefore restricting fat loss. In conjunction with a weight-training program (aerobics and weight training combined is the best way to achieve total fitness), cardio will need to be carefully monitored so that overtraining does not occur.
Do Enough To Produce An Effect (The Significance Of Intensity, Time, And Frequency)
To get the most from any aerobic training program, it is best to plan the intensity, time, and duration to ensure a sufficient training effect. These variables will change depending on what stage one is at and the specific goals they have.
For a general fitness aerobic program (for a moderately well conditioned trainee) working on a cycle, intensity would be between 70 and 85 percent of MHR, time would be between 45 minutes and one hour and frequency would be four times a week. For a less-advanced trainee, less would be required.
Drink Water Before, During, And After Training
Given aerobic training causes a great deal of fluid to be lost through sweat and body heat, it is important to drink water before, during (depending on the duration of training) and after exercising. Training aerobically without sufficient water intake (especially in the heat) may lead to dehydration and a reduction in performance so keep hydrated at all times.
To get into great shape, it is generally accepted that some aerobic training will be needed. However the type of training and the methods used will differ from person to person, and to achieve superior results it is important to select an activity that will work to ones best advantage.
It is hoped this article will have made clear the benefits aerobic training holds and the methods available.
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- Carerra, M & Vani, N. (2006). “The Best Exercise for Weight Loss.”
These 17 low-impact exercises deserve a place in your workout routine because they burn calories and place less stress on your joints and muscles.
Are low-impact exercises effective for reaching your health and weight loss goals?
If you’re worried about logging a solid workout, don’t let the term “low-impact exercise” fool you.
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This exercise style helps you burn fat and reshape your body composition without the stress of high-impact motion.
And you can exercise your entire body without a personal trainer or gym equipment starting today.
Before going through our list of the most popular low-impact exercises to try, you should know the difference between them and high-impact workouts first.
What is Low-Impact Exercise?
Low-impact exercises minimize force and stress placed on your muscles and joints (like your hips, knees, and ankles) during workouts.
These exercises aim to keep one foot off the ground and one foot on. There are no jumping movements allowed.
High-impact workouts cause more force and stress on your muscles and joints.
They require both feet to move off the ground at the same time. Examples of high-impact exercises include jumping jacks, CrossFit, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
It’s a myth that low-impact strength-training or cardio exercises call for less work.
If you’re doing them right, you’ll still reach 40-50% of your maximum heart rate and break a sweat.
Not wearing a heart rate monitor to gauge this? You should be able to talk but have trouble singing when you’re working out.
This sweet spot of low-impact exercise — minimal force, maximum heart rate — taps into your stored fat for energy and helps you shed pounds.
And a low-impact exercise routine is beneficial for recovery, especially if you favor a more high-impact fitness routine.
When Should You Consider Low-Impact Exercise?
There are three times you should choose low-impact exercise over high-impact activity:
#1. You’re Transitioning to a Low-Carb Keto Diet
Transitioning out of a high-carb diet may cause you to experience flu-like symptoms known as the keto flu.
Muscle aches, low energy, and headaches may plague you during the first few weeks as you near ketosis.
Rather than taking it easy and resting as you would with the real flu, it may be smarter to exercise through the discomfort.
Doing so will make the transition to ketosis faster — by burning through stored glycogen quicker — so you’re free of those side effects sooner.
Swap your high-intensity exercises during this time and weave in low-impact ones.
They’ll get your blood and heart pumping — which is where the health benefits of exercise come from — without depleting your already low energy.
Don’t worry; this detox period should only last until you’re fully in ketosis (or roughly two to three weeks).
Once there and you decide to bump up your intensity, these low-impact workouts are an excellent choice for recovery days.
Just make sure you’re not dealing with any of the other conditions on this list, such as the next.
#2. You Have Hormonal Issues and Imbalances
So many factors affect your crucial hormone balance.
Your diet, stress levels, sleep quality, and environment all play critical roles. But the type of exercise and how long you work out may also contribute to hormone disruption.
See, overtraining taxes the immune system and causes your body to release a surge of stress hormones.
This can happen whether you’re getting back into exercising after a few months off or you’re an elite athlete striving for your next PR.
Your body can also have this reaction if you’re not giving yourself enough rest and recovery between workouts.
Add this physical stress to the stress you’re already dealing with and you’ll put too much strain on your body.
This can disrupt hormone balance and leave you with unwanted symptoms such as fatigue, feeling hungry all the time, and an inability to lose weight.
To avoid this, watch out for the 12 warning signs you’re overtraining and consider switching to low-impact exercises.
You’ll score all the health benefits of exercise without taxing your body so much.
Already dealing with hormonal imbalances or endocrine disorders?
Conditions such as PCOS, diabetes, adrenal, hypothalamus, or thyroid issues are extremely sensitive and affected by high-impact exercises.
See how you feel after your workouts. If you’re too exhausted to eat and you’d rather sleep, your workout may be too much or too intense.
You should feel energized and sometimes euphoric after a workout thanks to the flood of endorphins exercise gives you.
Fortunately, there are plenty of amazing low-impact exercises to get your heart pumping without stressing your hormones.
#3. You Have a Specific Condition or Existing Pain
Since low-impact exercises place less force and stress on your muscles and joints, its ideal for those who:
- Have been injured
- Suffer from arthritis or pain in their joints
- Are severely overweight or obese
Additionally, pregnant women may want to consider low-impact workouts, especially further into the pregnancy.
And if you’ve recently jumped into exercise after taking time off, it’s best to ease into your fitness routine again with low-impact moves.
As always, it’s best to speak with your doctor first since they know your specific conditions.
Once you get the all-clear, you can try all our favorite low-impact exercises, including:
17 Top Low-Impact Exercises for Weight Loss
#1: Walking or Hiking
Walking outside or on a treadmill is the easiest activity for weight loss.
While you won’t burn as many calories on a walk as you would running, an hour hike could torch 200-500 calories.
To boost your calorie burn, aim for inclines and hills (to work your glutes) and rev up your speed.
Trekking in sand and snow, or working in a few lunges, will also increase the challenge and calorie-burning.
Swimming is as close to zero-impact as low-impact exercises get.
It may not even feel like you’re doing much but your whole body’s getting exactly what it needs.
The water’s resistance will help you burn between 300 to 500+ calories, depending on how much you weigh and how fast you swim.
#3: Water Aerobics
Doing aerobic exercises in the shallow end of the pool gives your body resistance to work against.
Like swimming, it also gets your heart pumping without overly stressing your joints.
One hour of water aerobics can yield a burn of 200 to 350 calories.
#4: Dance and Step Aerobics
Dance classes like Zumba and similar options for step aerobics have a bad reputation.
But a low-impact dance aerobics class will give you a calorie burn of 300 to 500 per hour. And an hour of step aerobics class burns a bit more at 400 to 600+ calories.
In a small study, women in a dance aerobics class lost just as much body mass as those jogging and cycling. They also improved their body composition similarly.
So you’ll have all the benefits without constantly straining the same joints and muscles.
Rowing — whether on a stationary rowing machine or in the water — burns an incredible amount of calories and builds upper body strength.
Depending on your speed and weight, you may run through 400 to 600+ calories per hour.
Rowing is also great if you’re short on time. A 30-minute session eats up around 200 calories.
And these calories were quoted for a moderate amount of effort, proving that you don’t have to go hard to reach a decent calorie burn.
An hour of kayaking burns 300 to 400 calories, while also improving your cardiovascular health and muscle strength.
The best part about kayaking is that it takes you outdoors. So now you get all the mental health benefits that come with being in nature too.
You’ll have a good workout and you may lower your stress levels and improve your mental health just by being outside.
#7: Cycling (The Right Kind)
A normal spin class may be too intense, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go for a moderate cycle every so often.
As long as you keep a comfortable pace, a stationary bike or slow cycle session can be considered low-impact.
At a moderate pace, a stationary biking session burns between 400 to 600+ calories per hour.
If you experience joint pain while cycling, try a recumbent bike that sits lower and takes some pressure off your knees.
Wondering what those long yellow bands at your local gym or on TV are for?
These suspension bands are known as TRX bands. They were developed by a former Navy SEAL commander, Randy Hetrick.
One end of the band attaches to a stationary object, such as a tree or metal frame. Then you hold on to the handles of the other end to perform your exercises.
TRX workouts provide total body toning and engage your core.
Just slip your hands and feet through the loops to perform workouts for both your upper and lower body.
Since it uses your body weight and the bands for resistance, you’ll have a challenging workout without being so out of breath.
Use the next exercise to prepare for TRX as it can be more advanced if you’re just starting.
#9: Easy Resistance Training
Another great low-impact workout option is simply using your body weight or workout bands to add easy resistance.
You can perform several different moves to create a circuit, which can then be repeated two or three times.
Circuit training like this can burn 500 to 700+ calories per hour.
Yoga is a total body workout.
Power yoga and vinyasa flows combine proper form with higher physical exertion. Some classes even add a bit of heat to burn calories and get your heart pumping faster.
A slower, Hatha style yoga class can help you relax and recharge, two perks for hormone balance and weight loss.
Slower classes burn 240 to 350 calories per hour while a power or vinyasa flow torches much more.
Pilates, a low-impact exercise developed by Joseph Pilates, focuses on strengthening your core to improve your flexibility and posture.
While most studios have reformers and other pieces of unique equipment — which resemble torture devices — you’ll find plenty of mat exercises to do at home.
When you do, a typical hour-long session could burn an average of 360 calories.
Barre, another low-impact workout class growing in popularity, focuses on improving strength, flexibility, and agility.
This is done through a variety of pilates and ballet-inspired moves. Exercises can be done at a local studio or by streaming classes online.
The elliptical machine mimics the act of cross-country skiing, which is a monster cardio workout. Hop on a machine and you’ll burn more calories than walking on a treadmill.
Gliding your arms and feet back and forth provides a solid upper and lower body workout to burn 500 to 800 calories per hour.
The stair climber can be low-impact if done right. Ideally, you shouldn’t go too fast or for too long to keep it low-impact.
Stop using the stair-climber if you feel any knee pain. And speak with your doctor before using it again.
You’ll burn 140 to over 400 calories in 30 minutes on a stair-climber, depending on your weight.
It’s an excellent pair for upper body weight training sessions. You’ll have a complete total-body workout that burns calories without burning you out.
#15: Rock Climbing
Rock climbing forces you to use both your upper body and lower body at the same time.
Now that rock climbing gyms are popping up all over the place, you don’t need to go outside to enjoy this low-impact workout.
Rollerblading, similar to cycling, can be low-impact as long as you take it easy and enjoy the ride.
An hour session can torch 200-600 calories and gets you outside in nature, which can improve your mental health and reduce stress levels.
The same can be said about the next low-impact workout.
A round of golf usually lasts around four hours. So you may burn anywhere from 400 to 600 calories per game, and that’s if you use a golf cart.
Carry your clubs and you’ll burn 600 to almost 1,000 calories per round!
Do this and you’ll get a great workout in without overdoing it.
Give These Low-Impact Exercises a Try Today
Low-impact exercises will help you demolish fat, burn off carbs, and reshape your body composition. And you’ll do so with less joint and muscle pain.
Ask your doctor for the green light before you start working out. Then begin with the exercise you’re most excited to try (rock climbing, anyone?).
Switch up your low-impact options every so often to give yourself a new challenge and something interesting to look forward to.
Now you’ll have no trouble staying motivated to exercise.