Most people would admit to wanting to shed a few pounds, but what many don’t know is that there are certain sports and activities that are better at this than others. The key is to get into the ‘fat-burning zone’, whereby the body is burning a high number of calories and thus also a high number of fat cells.
In order for our body to enter this fat-burn zone, we should engage in activities that are sustained, repetitive and challenging enough to work the heart and lungs for longer periods. Three great activities for achieving this aerobic state are running, cycling and rowing.
This form of high-intensity exercise typically burns around 600 calories an hour, and it continues to burn them for a sustained period afterwards too, thanks to a stimulated metabolic rate. This metabolic rate can sometimes remain heightened for up to 24 hours afterwards, so it is perfect to add weight loss as foods that are consumed post-run will be processed accordingly. The higher the intensity of the run, the more calories, and thus fat, that is burned. Additionally, running also builds muscles fibers, improves fitness, increases stamina and can help prevent osteoporosis.
The recommended amount of running to aid weight loss is a minimum of three times a week for 20-30 minutes each time.
Listing almost all the above benefits associated with running, but being much more low-impact, cycling tends to be a much more accessible and gentler sport for those looking to lose weight. Whether you use a stationary bike, or any variation of mountain or road bike from your local bike shop, the benefits are numerous. The great thing about cycling is that it can be done at an intensity and pace that suits the individual. The results will vary accordingly, but with regular cycles one’s overall fitness will increase, and so then can resistance levels and fat burning.
It is recommended that 30-45 minute cycles be undertaken at least three times a week, burning an average 600 calories each time.
This high intensity method of exercise provides a full body work-out and burns a surprising amount of fat. Many people consider this an ideal exercise because it is higher intensity than running, but not as low-impact as cycling, and burns more calories in a shorter space of time. It also works almost every muscle in the body and will certainly require more effort, but the pay-off is enormous; around 840 calories burnt per hour, and higher levels of fat cells eaten up too.
To really boost your weight loss, try 20 minutes of intense rowing three times a week. Just be careful not to overdo it, as the best option is to build your stamina up over time.
Running, cycling and rowing are by no means the only aerobic workouts that aid weight loss, but they are arguably the most accessible and easiest to get started with. As each activity offers a different level of intensity, they are the perfect three to consider for your weight loss, regardless of your current fitness levels.