Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cardio Queen

A lot of people have asked me what the best kind of cardio is for burning fat and losing weight. The truth is no one form of cardio is necessarily better than the other. It depends how hard you push yourself. No matter what form you use you should feel short of breath, it should be hard and it should be fun, yes FUN! You might not love it right away, but you can learn to love it and the more you love it, the more you appreciate what it does for your body. As many of you know I hated to run about three years ago and last week I ran a half-marathon…and I honestly had fun! Also, switch it up. Your muscles get used to the same exercises repeated over and over which means you burn fewer calories and build less muscle than you did when you did it the first time. Here are a few of the most popular and what they can do for you but don’t leave out the not-so-obvious forms of exercise like tennis, rollerblading, exercise classes, volleyball, etc.

Running- One of the biggest mistakes beginner runners often make is that they start way too fast. Start slow, let oxygen get into your lungs and let your body adjust to the sudden change in motion. Use baby steps rather than long strides and keep your head up. Let your mind wander as you listen to music and before you know it, you will have run two miles! Running is total-body workout engaging your lower body, upper body and core. One hour= aprox. 720 calories

Biking- A very underestimated source of cardio is bike riding. Rather than driving to dinner, find an easy 4-6 mile route to a restaurant and make it a date or a fun girl night out. Biking is low impact which means there is little to no stress on your joints which is great for people with minor injuries. One hour= aprox. 840 calories

Pilates- strengthens abs, increases flexibility, tones muscles, maintains joint health. The only down side is you need a huge machine, a good instructor and a lot of mula! One hour= aprox. 300

Yoga- Strengthen and tones muscles while torching up to 630 calories per hour. (Try the Sculpt class at CorePower yoga if you really want a great workout. There are several locations and your first week of classes is free, I swear by this class!)

Swimming- Great workout, especially for summer! It’s a very underrated form of cardio. It’s fun, easy, and works almost every muscle in the body. It’s low impact so it’s great for those of you with injuries and you can burn around 400 calories in just 30 mins.

Elliptical- Not my favorite form of exercise. I feel like the machine does more than I do. But it’s a great way to warm up before a gym workout. I generally only use the elliptical when I’m not in the mood for working out but I want to do something. You can burn about 300 calories for 30 mins.

Treadmill- I personally can’t run on a treadmill but one of the best cardio exercises I do is walking on an incline. It sounds easy but trust me, you can get just as good of a workout (if not better). I change the incline every minute and sometimes throw in a sprint here and there and by the time an hour is up I’ve burned up to 600 calories.

Stair climber- This is a great choice for those who want to firm and tone their lower half. The stair climber can burn about 500 calories an hour and is a great way to get your heart rate going.

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