Fat-burning and weight management are two of the main reasons people work out, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Exercise uses energy and, if you restrict your calorific intake, this energy must come from your body's fat stores. To burn fat while you exercise, choose cardio exercises that you can perform for 20 minutes or more and that use large muscle groups in a rhythmical fashion. Keep your heart rate between 60 percent to 90 percent of your maximum to ensure that you are working hard enough, but not too hard.
Walking, jogging and running are effective fat-burners you can perform on a treadmill. The faster you exercise, the greater your calorie expenditure will be. If you prefer lower-impact walking to jogging and running, set the treadmill at an incline to maximize your calorie-burning. Always wear cushioned, supportive shoes when using a treadmill to minimize your risk of lower-limb injury. For some people, balance can be a concern when using a treadmill. If you think you are at risk of stumbling or falling when using a treadmill, use the emergency-stop cord found on most treadmills, and use the handrails for support.
Exercise bikes are a low-impact activity, which makes them suitable if you have lower-body issues or are significantly overweight. Most exercise bikes have a range of difficulty settings so you can adjust the intensity of your workout to suit your fitness level. Try alternating between seated and standing pedaling to break up your bike workout.
Rowing is a low-impact, whole-body exercise. Because rowing uses all of your muscles at the same time, it is one of the best calorie-burning exercises. Incorrect rowing technique could put your lower back at risk, though, so make sure you learn how to row correctly to maximize your enjoyment.
Like rowing machines, cross-trainers use the arms and legs together and are effective calorie-burners. Using a cross-trainer requires no difficult-to-learn techniques, so is suitable for less experienced exercisers. Many cross-trainers allow forward and backward movement and a variety of difficulty levels so you can adjust your workout to suit your requirements.
Steppers are weight-bearing but low-impact machines that use the muscles of the lower body. Steppers can be never-ending step mills or footplates that are pushed down alternately. Both variations are effective fat-burners, although the lack of any arm action means that they are marginally inferior compared with rowers and cross-trainers.
Versa climbers are vertical climbing machines that simulate climbing a never-ending ladder. Although they are low-impact machines, versa climbers are fully weight-bearing and therefore provide an effective and demanding workout. Versa climbers are comparable to rowers in their capacity for fat-burning.
- "ACSM's Resources for the Personal Trainer"; American College of Sports Medicine; 2009
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2008