To burn fat you need to exercise. While exercise machines such as treadmills, rowers, exercise bikes and cross trainers all burn fat, you may not have access to these machines. Burning your stored energy, also known as fat, requires sustained moderate to vigorous exercise. You may not have access to a gym, but there are exercises that use minimal space and equipment that you can perform indoors to effectively burn fat.
A classic exercise from high school physical education classes, jumping jacks will raise your heart rate and burn fat. To perform jumping jacks, stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Jump, spreading your feet apart, and simultaneously raise your arms to shoulder level. Make sure that when you land you slightly bend your knees and land on the balls of your feet. Immediately jump your legs back together and lower your arms back to your sides. Continue for as long as required. Make sure you wear supportive and protective shoes when performing jumping jacks to minimize the impact on your feet.
A favorite of boxers and other athletes, jumping rope is a great fat burner and can be performed almost anywhere. Select a rope that is the right length for your height. When you stand on the middle of your jump rope, the handles should just reach your armpits. Start with your rope behind you and stand with your feet together. Swing the rope up and over your head and jump over with both feet. Once you are able to continue for a few minutes without stopping, try an alternating heel and toe action. You can also jog on the spot while spinning your rope or even turn the rope twice per jump-called a double under. Make sure you wear supportive and protective shoes when performing jump rope to minimize the impact on your feet.
Rubber Band Sprints
If you only have limited space, rubber band sprints will allow you to have a running-type workout indoors and without using a treadmill. Fix a strong rubber exercise band to a sturdy waist-high anchor on a wall or door. Attach the other end of the band behind you by threading it through a strong belt. Walk forward slightly until the bend is tensioned. Accelerate and run away from the anchor point until the band stops your forward momentum -- between four to six steps on average. Resist the pull of the band and return to your starting position. Repeat for the desired duration.
Rebounders are small, round trampolines designed for indoor exercise. Available from sporting goods stores for $70 to $120, rebounders offer a cheap alternative to powered treadmills, exercise bikes or rowers for providing a fat-burning workout. Standing in the middle of your rebounder, start by walking on the spot. Once you are comfortable walking, move on to jogging on the spot and finally try running. The higher you raise your knees, the more demanding the exercise. Pump your arms in time with your legs to increase the aerobic intensity of this exercise.
This exercise can be performed with any type of handheld weight, such as a dumbbell or even a bag containing heavy books. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and holding a weight in front of you in both hands. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower the weight between your knees. Dynamically extend your hips and knees and swing your weight up and forward at arms’ length to head height. Allow the weight to drop and as it does push your hips back and bend your knees so you can repeat the movement. Use a light enough weight so that you can perform high-rep sets of this exercise to really challenge your aerobic system.
Recommended Amounts of Exercise
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend working out for 150 to 300 minutes a week, performing moderate to vigorous aerobic activities for both the health benefits and for weight loss. Because 1 pound of fat equals 3,500 calories of stored energy, you must burn 250 to 500 calories a day to lose 1/2 to 1 pound per week. While you're working out indoors, you can use a timer to help you stay on track with your exercise goals. You can also vary your activities to burn extra calories, such as marching in place to maintain the calorie burn when you're out of breath from doing jumping jacks or jumping rope.
- ACSM's Resources for the Personal Trainer; American College of Sports Medicine
- You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises for Men and Women; Mark Lauren
- ACE Fitness: Fit Facts -- Jumping Rope: Not Just for Kids Anymore
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Exercise
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Weight Control and Diet