“When it comes to workouts, go big or go home. That’s why we tapped hard data along with the experience of top trainers to bring you the workouts that clock the biggest, baddest burn.
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Running is one of the most simple athletic endeavors humans can do, mainly because no equipment is needed—technically not even shoes (though our 21st century living environment calls for them). Running for an hour at 8 mph burns 1,074 calories per hour for a 200-pound person, according to fitness expert Chris Ryan, CSCS, CPT. Because it requires a serious amount of energy to move this fast and places quite a lot of demand on your cardiovascular system, most of us can’t sprint or run too fast for too long. “The best way to incorporate this exercise is to do 10–20 second sprints (or 100–200 meters, if on a track) and then jog or walk for 60 seconds,” says Roger E. Adams, PhD, Houston-based dietitian and nutritionist and founder of eatrightfitness.com. “Keep repeating these intervals until you’ve had enough, or until your sprints look like jogs.” Hoping to maximize your workout even more? Add a weighted vest to your sprints. This will drive up your calorie burn and is much safer than holding dumbbells or using ankle weights. Check out these easy ways for walkers to become runners.
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There’s a reason some of the world’s greatest boxers have relied on jumping rope to train their footwork and increase their heart rate. “Jumping rope can burn upwards of 1,074 calories per hour and is an excellent workout for the whole body,” says Ryan. “Even just a few minutes of jumping rope can get your lungs burning and heart racing.” One of the best parts of this calorie-torching exercise? You can do it almost anywhere, anytime, though few of us can handle it for more than a few minutes straight. “The best way to incorporate jumping rope into your exercise regimen is to do intervals,” says Dr. Adams. “Jump rope for a specified number of reps, say 100, then walk around or in place for 60 seconds. Then repeat this interval until you’re too tired to jump effectively.” If you can jump rope for several minutes straight, go for it! Otherwise use the interval approach for maximum results. Here are the secrets of how to get motivated to work out.
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You’ve probably heard that swimming, though low-impact and relatively accessible for nearly all individuals regardless of age or injury, burns serious calories—and that’s no lie. Vigorous, or high-intensity, swimming can burn upwards of 892 calories an hour for a 200-pound person. In addition to its therapeutic benefits and fine balance between strength and cardio, one of swimming’s ancillary benefits is simply being in water. “Your body normally runs at 98.6 degrees, but the average pool temperature is usually around 80 degrees—so your body burns calories just by trying to keep you warm and make up for the near 20-degree difference,” explains Ryan. Want to burn even more calories? Try wearing resistance gloves or using a dead-leg stroke to essentially take your legs out of the mix. Also, finding a cooler-than-normal pool or body of water to swim in will really jack up your caloric burn as your body burns more calories to stay warm. This tiny change can make workouts more enjoyable.
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Even at a relatively easy pace like 5 miles an hour, which is just above walking speed for most people, jogging is an excellent way to burn a high amount of calories. In fact, a 200-pound person can burn 755 calories per hour when running at this relaxed speed. Because it’s a full-body movement, running works a great deal of muscles at the same time and challenges your cardiovascular system. It’s also a fairly easy exercise to fit into people’s schedules because, most of the time, all it requires is some running shoes and pavement. “If you’re looking to add a little more caloric burn during your workout, try upping the incline a few percentages for short bouts of hills during your workout,” says Ryan. “This helps increase the intensity of the workout, but also shifts the position of the foot strike to mimic an undulating path or trail, which becomes a much more functional way to attack a workout.” Here’s what happens to your body when you start a running regimen.
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Considered by many to be the ultimate form of “athletic chess,” tennis is an excellent way to burn serious calories. This is mainly because of the amount of fast-paced spurts of running and body movement required in a match. “What makes tennis so challenging is the rapid deceleration and acceleration that’s required for you to be good at the sport,” explains Ben Boudro, CSCS, owner of Xceleration Fitness in Auburn Hills, Michigan. “The ball movement is very unpredictable and when you have unpredictable requirements, you challenge your brain and muscles to contract as fast as possible to move your body and get in position.” Doing this for just five minutes will put a serious tax on your body, and doing it for an hour could burn upwards of 728 calories for a 200-pound person. “If you’re looking to get even more caloric burn from tennis, consider adding in lightweight compression shorts or weighted vest,” suggests Ryan. “Working out with just 5–10 pounds of added weight can enhance your workout significantly.” Ready to test your fitness level? See if you can pass these 10 everyday fitness tests.
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If you want to be good at basketball, you better be able to move and move often. The sport consists mainly of players running, followed by short bouts of sprints and all-out jumps from one side of the court to the next for an hour or longer with minimal breaks. “These all-out movements seriously tax your body and force you to use energy systems that are used in everyday activities,” explains Boudro. “Couple those movements with competition and a hot gym and you’re definitely going to be burning a ton of calories within minutes.” In fact, basketball is known to burn upwards of 728 calories an hour for a 200-pound person! Start off by playing for 15 minutes and build up your tolerance from there, Boudro suggests. Be careful with this one though, as way too many injuries happen in the sport, often because individuals aren’t prepared for that kind of impact on their body. Start slow and work your way up, he says. Need motivation? Try these 11 tricks to get moving again.
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While rowing machines may seem old school, they’re making a big comeback in gyms and studios across the U.S. “Rowing is a fantastic total body exercise that’s low impact but burns a lot of calories with minimal impact on the joins,” says Clayton. “The rowing action uses both the lower and upper body, which is fantastic for burning calories at the same time as working multiple muscle groups.” As with most cardio exercises, in order to increase the calorie burn, you should do bouts of high intensity mixed with periods of slower paced rowing. This is easy to do now that most rowing machines allow you to adjust your resistance. Clayton suggests doing 60 seconds of rowing at a high speed and and 15 seconds at a slow speed. However, you can also do a moderate pace for many minutes straight, which can be a great steady-state exercise for your program. Next, find out the best workout for every age.”
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