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How Much Cardio Should I Do to Reduce Saddle Bags?

author image Joseph Eitel
Joseph Eitel has written for a variety of respected online publications since 2006 including the Developer Shed Network and He has dedicated his life to researching and writing about diet, nutrition and exercise. Eitel's health blog,, has become an authority in the healthy-living niche. He graduated with honors from Kellogg Community College in 2010 with an Associate of Applied Science.
How Much Cardio Should I Do to Reduce Saddle Bags?
A woman is jogging outside. Photo Credit: macniak/iStock/Getty Images

The term “saddle bags” is a way of describing the accumulation of fat around the hip and thigh area. It can be an unsightly problem for the afflicted, but luckily, cardiovascular exercise can help to reduce the appearance of excess fat. Contrary to what some believe, there’s no way to spot-target fat loss from any particular part of the body, so the solution is to focus on a full-body cardio regimen to achieve the weight loss results you desire.

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Cardio Workouts

Cardio exercises have one thing in common -- they each help you burn calories. You can mix and match the type of cardio routines you use from time to time to help keep your workouts fresh. However, some cardio exercises are more effective at burning calories than others. For instance, a 130 lb. person can burn 413 calories per hour at a moderate pace on a stationary bike while the same person could burn 679 calories by running at 7 mph for the same amount of time, according to The general rule of thumb is that the more intense your workout, the more calories you’ll burn.

Weight Loss

Losing weight occurs when you take in fewer calories than you burn each day, which is also referred to as a calorie deficit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3,500 calories is equivalent to 1 lb. of body weight. By reducing your daily caloric intake and exercising each day, you can create a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day, which is the maximum recommended level according to the CDC’s guidelines for safe weight loss. This is the equivalent of 1 to 2 lbs. per week.


The CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, five days per week for adults. To eliminate the appearance of saddle bags around your waistline faster, exercise for 60 minutes per day, five days per week. The CDC also mentions that increasing the intensity of your workout will add to the health benefits, including speeding up your weight loss. If possible, exercise on a cardio machine -- treadmill, stair-stepper, elliptical machine -- because these machines can help to track your time and calories burned more efficiently than doing so manually.

Top Cardio Exercises

The best cardio exercises to focus on include high-intensity workouts that maximize the number of calories burned within a 30 to 60 minutes time span. According to NutriStrategy, a 130 lb. person can burn 620 calories per hour pedaling vigorously on a stationary bike. The same person can burn 800 to 1,000 calories per hour running between 8 and 10 mph. Rowing at a vigorous pace, such as in a canoe, can burn over 700 calories in a single hour. Other effective cardio exercises that maximize calorie burn include step aerobics, cardio machines, skating, jumping rope and rock climbing.

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