There are plenty of reasons to begin a steady exercise routine, but weight loss ranks near the top. Whether you go for a light morning jog, hit the track for sprints or lift weights, you're going to be burning calories. How many calories you burn and how your physique changes depends on the types of weight-loss exercises you do. Gear your exercise program toward your specific fitness goals.
Aerobic exercises include weight loss as just one of many short- and long-term health benefits. According to MayoClinic.com, aerobic exercises increase your stamina, ward off illnesses, strengthen your heart and help to manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. In terms of fat loss, running at a steady pace can help you burn between 600 and 1,200 calories per hour, depending on your pace and weight.
Cardio isn't the only way to burn fat, and pumping iron isn't just a way to gain muscle. New research suggests that strength training can not only burn a significant amount of calories, but it might actually be more efficient for weight loss than aerobic exercise. In a 2008 article in "The Telegraph," it was reported that researchers at Boston University found that strength training resulted in both fat loss and long-term increases to metabolism. In effect, you'll be burning calories long after you return home from the gym if you hit the weights.
No matter what type of fat-loss exercise you do, you can increase its intensity and effectiveness by experimenting with interval training. The key concept behind interval training is to alternate between periods of high and low intensity. Speeding up for short bursts on the treadmill or switching between several weight-bearing exercises in a short amount of time can help you burn calories faster than steady-state training, according to Jason Karp, Ph.D.
A steady exercise program is key to losing weight, but you need to balance it with a clean diet and healthy nutrition if you want to slim down and keep the weight off. It's important to understand that it's impossible to spot reduce fat. You can't choose where the weight comes off by targeting specific parts of your body with isolation exercises. To lose weight and tone muscle, incorporate both cardio and strength-training exercises into your routine.