Top 5 Exercises to Burn Calories

Joanne Pallotta Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center correspondent

JUNE 01, 2016

How many calories your body is able to burn depends on a variety of factors including your workout, your intensity, and your body type.

But, Dr. John-Paul Hezel in the Division of Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says there are five endurance exercises that burn the most calories, in the shortest time frame, and are all easy to learn.


“It’s one of my favorite exercises!” Dr. Hezel declares. “It’s a challenging, full-body workout that burns calories and builds strength all at once.” When rowing, you use your legs, your back, and your arms to generate speed and power.


What you burn depends on your goal — how long, how far, and how intense. As with all endurance exercises, biking gets your heart rate up, especially if you keep a pace somewhere between 12 and 14 mph. But in terms of muscles, it primarily works your legs.


It is a good exercise to build both strength and endurance all at once. “It’s also easy on the joints,” says Dr. Hezel. “You can swim multiple strokes and change it up so your body isn’t going to get overworked.”


We’re talking a brisk walk — anywhere from 3.5 to 4.5 mph. And you need to be able to do it pain-free. Walking isn’t a direct strength builder, but it is the easiest of any exercise to perform, as it is part of most people’s daily lives, and it does burn calories.


The difference between running and these other exercises is that running is hardest on your joints and takes regular training to prevent injury. To avoid overworking certain muscles and risking injury, you should start with a walk-to-run program. “It’s important to start with a walking program and progress into running — all the while cross-training and strength training while you do it,” stresses Dr. Hezel. He also states that even the most well-trained runners don’t need to run more than three or four days a week, at most.

Remember, if burning calories and losing weight is your goal — you must also take diet into consideration. What you eat has been shown to have a greater impact on weight loss than even exercise. However, burning calories safely, with the exercises listed above, will help keep you fit and achieve that goal.

June 2016


Sports Medicine & Shoulder Surgery

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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