Surprising but true: Exercise doesn’t always lead to weight loss. In fact, some people who exercise compensate for increased physical activity by eating extra calories. While you don’t have to exercise intensely to lose weight, following a few simple guidelines will help you choose the right workout to effectively shed pounds.
Choose Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular workouts help you burn the most calories, and are ideal when you’re trying to shed pounds. For example, a 155-pound person expends 112 calories lifting weights for 30 minutes, but burns 372 calories in 30 minutes jogging at a pace of 6 miles per hour, according to Harvard Health Publications. A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Applied Physiology confirms that aerobic exercise, like biking, jogging, walking and swimming, is the optimal form of exercise when you’re trying to lose weight and burn fat.
Exercise More than 30 Minutes at a Time
Exercising more than 30 minutes per session helps your body burn stored fat as fuel, according to a review published in 2009 in The Ochsner Journal. Fortunately, you don’t have to exercise at high intensities to effectively shed pounds. The 2009 position stand of the American College of Sports Medicine is that getting 200 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise in weekly aids in long-term weight loss, and working out at a moderate intensity more than 250 minutes per week is associated with significant weight loss. This equates to exercising more than 50 minutes per session, five days weekly.
Burn 400 to 600 Calories per Workout
Expending 400 to 600 calories during aerobic workouts five days weekly is effective for weight loss, according to a study published in 2013 in the journal Obesity. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 155-pound person burns about 500 calories using an elliptical machine for 45 minutes, swimming the crawl stroke for 37 minutes, or jogging at a pace of 5.2 miles per hour for 45 minutes.
It should be noted that machines and/or running aren’t the only forms of cardio out there. Plyometrics and aerobics (for example, cardio step classes) are other good ways to raise your heart rate.
Watch What You Eat
Eating right is the key to effective weight loss, whether you’re exercising regularly or not. Fill up on protein-rich foods — like lean poultry, fish, egg whites, plain non-fat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk, legumes, nuts, and seeds — vegetables, whole grains, and fruits instead of white bread, white rice, regular pasta, baked goods, sweets, and sugary drinks.
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