Are Cardio Exercises Really the Best for Burning Fat?

Burning fat is the goal of most dieters. One of the more common pieces of advice related to fat burning is to establish a regular fitness regimen that includes cardiovascular exercise. What is the relationship between cardio and exercise?

Cardio and Burning Fat

Your body is burning calories at all times, even while you sleep. Whether you are sitting and reading a book or walking to your car after you leave the  office, you are burning calories. If you want to lose weight, the more active you are, the more calories you will burn.

If you move intensely, your body uses up more carbs. So when you sprint a short distance or run up a staircase, your body metabolizes more carbs in those moments. You will still burn calories from fat during those instances, but your body uses more carbs than fats during very intense exercise.

Activities that burn fat include any form of exercise that is lower intensity and performed for a longer duration. Jogging for two miles, riding your bike for an hour or swimming laps for 30 minutes will burn more fat. In general, activities that you can maintain for 30 to 60 minutes are cardiovascular in nature and help you to lose fat. The amount of fat you will lose depends on your weight. The higher your weight, the more you will lose during cardiovascular exercise.

Spot Training and Fat Burning

Experts tend to agree that there is no such thing as spot training when it comes to burning fat. For example, if your goal is to get rid of belly fat, doing 100 sit-ups a day will not necessarily lead to a flat stomach. At best, it will tone the abdominal muscles, which might change the shape of your midsection. The same goes for all other parts of your body. Weight lifting and spot training will give you greater strength and possibly improve your appearance, but will not burn fat.

If using weight training as part of a fat burning regimen, experts recommend doing more repetitions. For example, perform 15 repetitions of a particular weight lifting or spot training exercise. Concentrate on lifting for longer time frames as opposed to increasing the amount of weight that you lift. This becomes a lower intensity exercise that can offer aerobic benefits.

Interval Training to Burn Fat

If you have been doing the same cardio exercise for weeks or months and the weight is not coming off, consider mixing up the activity. For example, if you are used to speed walking for 45 minutes per day, you might try walking for 15 minutes, jogging for 5 minutes and then resuming your walking speed. This is referred to as interval training and helps to boost fat burning activity.

In general, cardio is really the best form of exercise for burning fat. Weight training helps to reshape your body and makes you stronger. Interval training will boost your cardio efforts.


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