If you want to lose weight, you know you need to burn more energy (calories) than you consume. What is the best way to burn those calories? Cardio exercise, also known as cardiovascular or aerobic exercise.
Cardio exercises are those that get your heart rate up. Moderate cardio activities include things like walking, rowing, swimming, or cross-country skiing. More vigorous cardio exercises include tennis, running, racquetball, or aerobic dance. The number of calories you can burn from cardio activities depends on the frequency, intensity, and duration of the exercise. But remember this - to lose one pound of fat, you'll need to burn about 3,500 calories. And you can't trim down by only working out. A healthy diet is vital when it comes to losing weight and preventing weight gain.
What is so great about cardio exercises, and what exercises are best for you?
The goal of cardio exercises is to get your heart rate to your target heart rate zone. When your heart rate increases, you breathe harder, your blood starts pumping faster, you sweat, and your body is burning calories at a rapid pace.
You can easily increase or decrease the number of calories you burn by changing the intensity or duration of your exercise. Maybe you ate a piece of chocolate cake for lunch and need to burn those extra calories. If this is the case, you'll need to walk faster, jump higher, increase the incline, or just try something new. Decide to eat a healthy home-cooked dinner instead of fast food? Congrats! If you're just looking to maintain your weight and health, you can lessen the intensity of your workout for the day.
Cardio exercises are something you can do every day of the week without worrying about overtraining or injury. Besides the benefit of burning calories and shedding pounds, cardio exercises help to strengthen your muscles and improve the health of your heart and lungs.
When it comes to cardio workouts and weight loss, there is no single magic exercise. Yes, there are exercises that burn calories faster, but the question is, can you perform these exercises and enjoy them enough to do them enough? With that question in mind, the best cardio exercise is whatever you like and will actually do on a regular basis.
Generally, impact activities and whole-body activities will burn more calories and get your heart rate up faster. Impact exercises involve impact, such as walking, running, and jumping. Whole-body activities use both your upper and lower body, like cross-country skiing.
If you're trying to decide what kind of cardio exercise to do, check out the following list to see how many calories you can burn during one hour of activity.
(Calories burned are for a 160-pound - 73 kilos - person.)
High impact aerobics: 533
Leisurely bicycling: 292
Basketball game: 584
Ballroom dancing: 219
Jumping rope: 861
Swimming laps: 423
Running at 5 miles per hour: 606
Walking at 3.5 miles per hour: 314
Cross-country skiing: 496
The amount of cardio exercise needed varies from person to person. It depends on the intensity of your exercise, the number of calories you consume, your age, gender, and metabolism, level of fitness, weight, and body fat percentage.
Here are some tips for an effective cardio program. If you're just beginning, start with an exercise of your choice three to four days a week, at a manageable level. Each week, add time to your workout until you can exercise continuously for 30 to 45 minutes. Work your way up to five to six days of cardio, varying the duration and frequency of your workout. To lose weight, it is recommended to get at least 60 minutes of cardio most days of the week. It also helps to add strength training to your routine. This will strengthen your muscles, helping you burn calories even faster.