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The Top 10 Physical Activities to Lose Weight

author image Marisa Upson
Marisa Upson has been writing health-related articles since 1990. Her knowledge comes from 23 years in the health care field as a chiropractor and owner of a holistic retreat. Upson holds a Bachelor of Science in human physiology and a Doctor of Chiropractic from Southern California University of Health Sciences.
The Top 10 Physical Activities to Lose Weight
A woman is jogging outside. Photo Credit CEBImagery/iStock/Getty Images

While strength training is a fundamental part of any exercise plan, it is the activities that get your heart pumping that burn the most calories and melt the pounds away. Keep in mind that you lose just one pound for every 3500 calories you burn. That’s a lot of pounding on the pavement. Add a healthy reduced caloric intake to your exercise routine, and you’re guaranteed weight loss. Here’s the bottom line: to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in.

Run Like the Wind

Running, sprinting and jogging are the stars of a weight burning regimen. At a burning rate of over 600 calories per hour, depending on intensity and weight, this is the exercise to include in your weight loss efforts. If you are a 145-pound person running a 10-minute mile for an hour, you will burn approximately 690 calories. Hard to top that one. If you are not conditioned to run at that speed or for that long, start slowly and work your way up. Walking at a brisk rate of 3.5 mph burns over 250 calories while jogging ups the caloric burn an additional 200 calories. You don’t want to burn out or injure yourself causing you to stop your healthy exercise habit in its track, so go at a pace that’s comfortable for you and most importantly, enjoy.

For Fun

Due to their awesome caloric expenditure rate of 400 to 600 calories an hour, these adventurous sports make the top ten list of activities for weight loss: rock climbing, racquetball, cross-country skiing and rowing. Remember, the main element to any exercise program is that you enjoy the process. If you don’t, chances are you won’t stick with it, leaving you feeling frustrated and berating yourself for a failed attempt at losing weight and getting healthy. If you find yourself cringing at the idea of lacing up your tennis shoes for another run through the park, try these enticing exercises that might just keep you moving.

The Gym Is In

For those of you who enjoy working out with your peers and head to the gym for your exercise routine, there are several options that make the top ten list and burn the calories at lightning speed. An elliptical trainer will burn over 450 calories an hour, while that spinning class that looks enticing, if not a little sweaty, will have you blazing off 700 calories or more in an hours time. A 6 to 8-inch step aerobics class expends more than 500 calories. Not enough? Think Rocky and grab that jump rope for a whopping burn of 650 calories in an hour.

The Highs and Lows

Interval training is simply performing an exercise at a high intensity for a certain amount of time and then following it up with a period of low intensity. This is proving to be one of the best modes of exercise for calorie burning and can be incorporated into any activity. An example of this would be to include one-minute intervals of sprinting followed by two minutes of jogging in your training. Repeat this three times before returning to your sustained activity. Jog, jump or climb--the key is to find exercise routines you love and make them a part of your everyday life. Pick one of the top ten a day-- jogging, rock-climbing, racquetball, cross-country skiing, rowing, elliptical training, spinning or biking, step-aerobics, jump rope, or interval training--do it for 60 minutes and watch your body transform.

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