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The Best Exercises to Sweat Off Pounds

author image Jennifer Andrews
Jennifer Andrews specializes in writing about health, wellness and nutrition. Andrews has a Master of Science in physical therapy from the University of Alberta as well as a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. She teaches yoga and pilates and is a recent graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
The Best Exercises to Sweat Off Pounds
Sweat off pounds with heart-pumping cardio. Photo Credit: Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If weight-loss is your goal, you will want to engage in exercises that help you sweat off the pounds. The best exercises increase your heart rate and breathing rate which revs up the metabolism for fat-burning both during and after your workout. Furthermore, exercises that work the major muscle groups increase muscle mass which also burns more calories at rest than fat. Since every body is different, the best exercises for your friend or partner may not be the best for you. However, in general, some exercises are more effective than others based on the above criteria.

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Revved Up Intensity

High intensity interval training, HIIT, is a type of workout program that can be applied to running, biking, the elliptical or rower in the gym. It involves exercising at a higher intensity such that your heart rate is elevated and you won't be able to carry on a conversation. Harder efforts are alternated with lighter recovery periods in which you can recover and prepare for the next interval. A sample running workout would be to run hard for 30 seconds to one minute followed by a jog for two minutes. Repeat the sequence five to 10 times preceded by a warm-up and followed by a cool-down. According to Muscle For Life, HIIT increases the metabolic rate up to 24 hours post-exercise and may also suppress the appetite leading to less caloric intake and weight loss.

Spun Out

Group cycling classes, commonly known as spinning, gained popularity in the last couple of decades as a fat-burning, leg-slimming workout. The smooth pedaling combined with appropriate bike fit leads to a more efficient workout than a standard upright stationary bike. Riding in a group class means you will probably work harder than riding solo as you have a structured workout session and the instructor motivating you. Aim to do a spin class two to three times per week for 45 minutes to an hour in addition to other sweat-pumping activities.

Step Up

Stepping machines at the gym can burn mega calories because they work the largest muscle groups of the body including the gluteals and quadriceps. StepMill machines in particular, in which you have to pick your foot up and place it on the step above, will ramp up the caloric burn due to the extra effort involved. Work your way up to stepping 20 to 30 minutes or more a couple of times a week in addition to other weight-loss exercises.

Put the Kettle On

Exercising with kettlebells combines cardio and strength training in one workout to maximize caloric burn for weight loss. Research by the American Council on Exercise found that kettlebell workouts were of higher-intensity than typical strength-training routines which aids in weight-loss. Try doing a kettlebell routine at the gym or home two to three times per week by performing shoulder presses, walking lunges, deadlifts and pushups with a load that is heavy enough to cause fatigue after approximately 10 to 12 repetitions.

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