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What Cardio Machines Slim Your Waist?

author image Timothy Owens
Timothy Owens has been in the fitness and wellness industry since 2000. He holds a Master of Arts in physical education: sport and exercise science from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and is a certified personal trainer through the National Council on Strength & Fitness. Owens worked as a exercise physiologist and personal trainer for eight years until moving into recreation administration and management.
What Cardio Machines Slim Your Waist?
A group of people on spin bikes. Photo Credit kzenon/iStock/Getty Images

Shedding pounds from your waistline isn't nearly as difficult as you may believe, as long as you put in the effort on your favorite machine. Each cardiovascular machine at your gym offers different advantages over the next, but when it comes to the bottom line of weight loss, time and intensity take the cake over which machine you use. While your ultimate goal may be dropping waist sizes, cardio burns calories from your whole body, not just the waistline. So if you are dreading your next treadmill session at the gym, change things up and hit the right intensity to slim down your whole body.

Here's the Bottom Line

No matter which cardio machine you choose, the most important factors for slimming your waistline are time and intensity. For weight loss, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's “2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” recommends 300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 150 minutes of high-intensity cardio per week. When performing exercise at a moderate level of intensity, you should be able to talk but not sing. During high-level intensity you shouldn’t be able to say more than a couple words before pausing for a breath.

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Waste That Waist

According to the American Council on Exercise, the treadmill is the optimal cardio machine for burning calories when compared to exercising on alternative machines at the same level of intensity. As with all forms of exercise, your intensity determines how many calories you burn during your treadmill workout. While a 155-pound person burns 372 calories in 30 minutes running at 6 miles per hour, the same person burns 149 calories walking at 3.5 miles per hour.

My Knees Need a Break

If you enjoy running but need less stress on your joints, the elliptical is your machine. Many elliptical machines come with upper-body features, allowing your arms and chest to train while primarily working your lower body, resulting in a higher overall number of calories burned. A 30-minute session for a 155-pound person on the elliptical is going to burn around 335 calories. When exercising at a higher intensity, beginners find the elliptical easier to handle because of the lower impact on joints.

Ride to Your New Waist

Seated forms of cardio are also effective for slimming down the waistline. According to a 2011 study published in “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,” a 45-minute vigorous-intensity stationary bike ride boosts your metabolism and burns additional calories for the next 14 hours. During this 14-hour period, you burn an extra 37 percent of the calories burned during the bike session. Since bikes are non-weight-bearing machines, they are the recommended waist slimmer if walking or standing for prolonged periods causes you discomfort.

Planes, Trains and Rowers

While each machine offers a different advantage, the cardiovascular exercise that you stick to and enjoy is the best waist trimmer of all. If you enjoy the stairstepper and rower but hate the treadmill, choose these machines instead of the treadmill. The main concern when slimming down the waist is to stick to the intensity and amount of time recommended by "2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans."

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