Choosing the best exercise to burn fat can often be a matter of personal choice depending on your ability or disability, your age, your lifestyle and your personal likes and dislikes. Further down is a list of various exercises for shedding those pounds and getting fit and healthy for young and old alike...
Note: Exercising regularly but continuing to eat junk food will NOT help you to burn fat and lose weight. If you're eating more calories and fat than you're burning off throughout the day and/or during exercise then you'll simply put weight on, or at best you'll not lose a single pound but will be punishing your body to lose weight which makes no sense at all.
If you truly want to exercise to burn fat and shed some weight then you need to combine a regular exercise routine with a healthy diet plan such as the first quick weight loss diet on the home page for speeding up your metabolism, or a variation of that diet if you choose, but you must learn to cut out all forms of junk food to stand any chance of losing weight at all or you'll just be fighting a losing battle and potentially damaging yourself at the same time.
Also, take a look at the quick weight loss tips, particularly the first two, and start to apply them in combination with an exercise routine from any exercises that you feel like doing or from the list included on this page.
Please read on for lots more information or click the link below to drop straight down to the various exercises....Go Straight to The Exercises...
All forms of exercise help to increase the metabolism to a greater or lesser degree by stimulating the system and 'getting things moving'. This can help with maintaining our weight as well as our overall general health and fitness.
Exercise increases our respiration (breathing) which 'opens' and expands the chest and helps to clear the lungs while oxygenating the entire body. The heart rate is also increased during exercise which can help to strengthen the heart. When the heart rate is increased the blood circulation is also increased which helps to keep the blood's pathways clear and also helps to eliminate toxins which can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Participating in regular exercise also helps to free up the joints and keep them moving. Regular exercise is also said to help to reduce the potential development of many common serious diseases such as; coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, osteoarthritis, depression and even dementia!
It seems that using exercise to burn fat is only the half of it? Participating in regular exercise can obviously help us in many other ways too, in particular the PREVENTION of obesity and its related serious medical conditions when combined with a healthy diet plan of some sort or another!
You CANNOT lose weight from specific areas. Your body decides where to put weight on first and last. Likewise, it decides where to take it away from first and last. For most of us, this generally tends to be the same place for all the above scenarios, the tummy area, right?
I think it's true to say that most of us tend to put on weight around our mid-section before anywhere else which is also usually the last place flab/fat is left hanging around. This means when you're trying to lose weight many of you are left with belly fat that's often hard to shift and it's at this point many people give up.
"How do I get rid of this belly fat?" is possibly the most common question asked by anyone trying to lose weight, especially women as they're so conscious of it. The only way you can lose those last pounds around your tummy area is to take diet especially, and also exercise to some degree, to another level. This is not something for everybody though as it requires a strict diet that most find too difficult to consider or sustain long enough for it to have any real effect.
It's also important to do it methodically and systematically for the safest and best results.
One very big misconception is that of turning fat into muscle and vice versa. This is a man-made idea from a lack of knowledge. It's an almost natural thing to say "my belly and/or legs are a bit flabby, I want to tone them up!". Another statement that I've heard a lot over the years is; "if you stop training, all that muscle will turn to fat". Rubbish!
I believe that the idea of turning fat into muscle and of muscle turning into fat has developed from those two statements despite it being impossible. Adipose tissue (fat) and muscle tissue are two completely different tissues and neither one can turn into the other, fact!
You can of course exercise to burn fat away while toning up your muscles at the same time though. This is one of the benefits of regular exercise and what this page is all about. And, if you’re muscular and you stop training, your muscles will simply contract and shrink overtime. They CANNOT turn into fat. Yes, you might put on weight if you don’t watch what you eat, but that’s down to diet and not because you’ve stopped weight training.
You only have to look at someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger to see this. He's smaller than he was but he isn’t overweight is he. Yes, he might do a bit of weight training still, but that doesn’t keep him from putting on weight. He obviously keeps an eye on what he eats to keep in shape at his age which is what you'd expect from a man as successful as him in health and fitness. After all, he was crowned Mr Olympia seven times and bodybuilders are well-known as diet and nutritional fanatics, and, when you're as successful as he was in that area, it isn't something that just leaves you when you stop competing. Keeping in good shape is who he is and will probably be to the day he dies.
There are three definitions of a 'calorie' in the English dictionary, but the one we are concerned with is this; unit of food energy; a unit of energy-producing potential in food, equal to one large calorie. This energy, if not used, is converted to fat and stored.
I wanted to put that in for obvious reasons, but the simple truth is, I've never counted calories in food or what I might burn during exercise. The scales tell me everything I need to know along with my eyesight towards the mirror. I then make changes accordingly if I feel the need to. This is a very simple but effective approach that has always worked for me and others that I've helped.
Incidentally, although I do not concern myself with 'calories' per say, I do mention them at various times throughout this site as a reference to over-eating and/or taking them in through food. The point is, I never count calories or think about what foods contain what number of calories as such. I have always simply focused on healthy eating by not eating too many fats and carbs so it has never been something that mattered to me. In my younger days I was always so active in general and with training too that calories were irrelevant to me, especially as I always tried to eat relatively healthily as well. In addition to that was the fact that I was and still am fortunate to have quite a fast metabolism where my body appeared to burn off the calories even while I was sleeping it seemed?!
Once you start a regular exercise routine alongside a healthy eating plan my advice is to weigh yourself weekly. This should be done in the morning once a week on the same day while naked and preferably after going to the toilet (emptying your bowels). This gives you your 'true weight' as I call it. Write it down and keep a diary of your 'weekly weight' and what you eat every day throughout the week. If you also want to take weekly measurements of your tummy, thighs and upper arms to see if they reduce in size over the week/s too then do so, but remember, the scales tell the truth and are the main weight-gain or weight-loss indicator.
If you have not lost any weight after the first week then make slight adjustments to your diet by applying and refining the quick weight loss tips predominantly. These 'tips' are the cornerstone of weight loss. Exercise is a supplement to enhance metabolic stimulation and overall health and fitness, and, although we can use exercise to burn fat, it is not the key to weight loss in my opinion. I've lost a lot of weight through strict diets alone without any exercise whatsoever which proves this to me, and, if you believe what I say, you'll believe it too. That's not to say that exercise can't be used to lose weight because it can. It just needs to be combined with a healthy, low-fat, reduced-carb, high-fibre diet for optimum results.
The point is, although regular exercise can be good for our overall health as well as weight loss, if you're taking in more food and calories than you're burning off during exercise then you're basically flogging a dead horse so to speak, meaning you are wasting your time and energy. In my personal opinion and experience a poor diet consisting of high fat, high calorie foods is the main cause of weight gain and not a lack of exercise.
Likewise, a significant change of diet is the main remedy for that weight gain and a precursor for weight loss, and, exercise, at least of an aerobic nature such as those exercises listed here, are supplementary, supportive and enhancing to the system as a whole, but they are not mandatory for weight loss, helpful yes, but not compulsory, not like a change of diet is compulsory for losing weight.
Let's face it, there's really no point in keep eating a mass of junk food daily and trying to burn it off is there? Do you think you'll get very far? You'll probably end up with injuries and you'll more than likely weigh the same as you did before you started?! Do you really want to batter your body with a hard training routine just so you can eat junk? That to me is nothing short of foolish.
So, burning fat does require a combination of both a healthy diet and a gentle exercise routine, but, although we can use exercise to burn fat and calories, the emphasis in my opinion really is diet and not exercise as many would have you believe, despite exercise and activity in general being a calorie burning medium.
Developing your own exercise routine is something that comes from experience over time. The general approach is roughly the same for all exercises though, which is to take your time and become accustomed to any exercise before increasing intensity and duration. This is discussed in more depth in the accompanying text for 'walking' starting under the sub-heading 'walking for weight loss' and should be applied to all exercises and their routines.
Note: All exercises can be combined over a week of course. You could;
Mix it up as you feel. Make up your own weekly exercise routine. Adding variation helps with boredom to keep you interested and doing something! Variation also keeps the body targeted in different ways. This can help to give specific muscles a rest while at the same time giving the body something new to deal with. Giving the body something new helps to reduce the potential of the body becoming accustomed to a routine and reaching a 'plateau' where little or less progress is experienced after a while.
If you're exhausted after the first day then you've done too much, or, if you haven't done that much but are still very tired the next day, then you may have to reduce your weekly exercise routine to every other day as outlined below;
Continue this way until you're able to cope with exercising consecutive days and build it up so you can exercise every day with one or two days off per week.
Note: Apply the exercise guidelines as outlined for 'walking' starting under the sub-heading 'walking for weight loss' to all exercises and exercise routines.
I've listed these exercises in order of what I generally consider to be the easiest first, not only from a general perspective, but also for someone who is overweight and therefore less agile. This is based on my personal experience from being involved in each one at some point in my life and still today in many cases, with the exception of the various dance-based exercises that I have not been involved in.
As far as burning fat is concerned, in all honesty there's nothing much between many of these exercises as it's all down to the intensity and duration at which you apply them. A power-walk burns roughly the same calories as a light jog of the same duration I would imagine. I'm not a scientist or a dietitian so I don't KNOW this but I think you'll agree it makes sense? I've seen on the internet references to specific exercises and sports burning a certain number of calories over a certain duration of say thirty minutes for example. The difference between different exercises and sports is not significant and they do not take into account different levels of ability and intensity for each one?
Also, different bodies react differently to different exercises so it's hard to say that a particular exercise is better than another for burning fat for you or anybody else. As previously mentioned under the sub-heading 'calories', the scales and my eyes tell me everything I need to know about my weight and how a diet and training routine is going. I then make changes accordingly.
I also think it's far more important to find exercises that you like and are happy to do as opposed to finding what exercises are said to burn the most 'calories' as you're more likely to stick with what you prefer and what interests you the most long-term. You'll burn a lot more 'calories' and fat doing something that you can relate to and enjoy that's for sure!Back To Top
Click the links below to jump straight down to the individual exercises...
Now, it's true that a leisurely stroll is not the best exercise to burn fat, but I've put walking as number 1 as it really is a very easy exercise for most people even if they are overweight.
Without doubt, the human body is a walking machine. It's designed to walk very long distances without falter or breakdown. Our upright posture, our hip, knee and ankle joints along with our feet and the many joints in the foot all make walking a piece of cake for us humans, providing you're in pretty good shape that is.
Our long past ancestors walked for miles to get food and water and many still do. I think the Aborigine people of Australia are probably the best example of this as they're known to have walked hundreds of miles just to get water? And they'd need it too by the time they got there, especially in that heat! Likewise, many African women and young children are known for walking long distances to collect water. How lucky we are in the West?!
Walking is the most common form of transport available even for many with other transport options at their disposal. Many people love to walk and would rather do so than get in a car. I used to love taking the dogs (three boxers) out when I was younger and really enjoyed a good walk around the golf course near our house among nature. Having a dog is a great way to 'get you out and walking!'
I can also remember my kids having specific 'walk to school' days to help cut down on pollution but also to encourage some form of exercise. This is a very good thing for kids to get exercise and many kids do walk to school as I did nearly every day of my school life.
Walking has also played a major role in many radical changes throughout history. There is nothing more utilized and powerful to affect a radical change than a 'March'? The great Martin Luther King went on various long distance marches to affect a much needed change and he achieved it too. Others have done the same throughout history to protest against animal cruelty, nuclear disarmament and a trillion other important reasons. Walking can be a powerful tool, not only for weight loss!
OK, let's cut to the chase. You are here because you want to lose weight and are looking for ways to do that. Walking can certainly help you to achieve that as it can be a very good exercise to burn fat providing you can 'pick up the pace' a little?
Now, as I've said before, I have no idea about you and what you're able to do, so you need to monitor yourself with this and make your own adjustments accordingly. This isn't rocket science, just good ol' common sense so it should be pretty straight forward.
If you've been inactive for a while or just new to any form of exercise, the best advice is always to start off slow and do a little on the first day. You can see how you feel the next day and increase the level of intensity and distance if the first day was relatively easy for you and you aren't exhausted or aching from the first day? If you do too much out of enthusiasm you can leave yourself overly tired and aching and unable to do anything for a couple of days or so.
Always, always start slow and see how you feel the next day before increasing the intensity and duration of any exercise you do. It's far better to do a little every day, or most days, then it is to do a lot once, twice or three times a week. Having said that, three times a week is far better than not at all of course.
Make sure you get a decent pair of training shoes like Nike air or similar to alleviate any possible discomfort. If you're overweight then this is even more important for the obvious reason that there's more weight bearing down on your ankles and feet.
If you're feeling OK then increase the intensity by speeding up a little. What we want is a gentle but definite exertion where you start to feel slightly out of breath but comfortable. The heart rate will also increase your circulation to push blood around your arteries and veins to send valuable oxygen to the muscles. The increased circulation also carries lactic acid away from the muscles where it's taken to the liver to be broken down.
Breathe as deep and as steady as you can under the circumstances. Increase the intensity of your exertion progressively over a number of days and weeks. Walking is a good exercise to burn fat providing you can slowly start to increase the intensity of your routine over time. However, if you're very overweight just do the best you can as something is far better than nothing at all.
Learn to pace yourself and if you feel good just hold back slightly to see how you feel the next day. I've often felt good and pushed hard only to find I have less the next day. That's when I was young and very fit, so, if you're overweight and unfit you should take even more care. Over time you will learn exactly what you can and can't do if you don't already know.
Don't forget to make sure you drink enough fresh water and/or juice throughout the day!
Speeding up slightly and slowing down intermittently is a simple and common approach to all exercises, whether walking, running, cycling or anything else. Simply walk a bit faster for 3-5 seconds or more before slowing down and catching your breath before repeating it again when you're ready to. This can be repeated any number of times during your workout depending on your level of fitness. This is something you will have to monitor and decide for yourself.
Depending on your weight and level of health and fitness, I would not suggest you apply this type of training until you've been exercising for at least one week or more, and even then, it's something that you should slowly introduce over time to allow your body time to adjust and get used to. Listen to your body and do only what you feel comfortable with.
Another way to increase the intensity of walking is to walk up and down a flight of steps either indoors or outdoors. This puts extra exertion on the legs and the whole body as a result. Again, increase this slowly overtime as you will find it can be quite demanding, so pace yourself and monitor how you feel over the next day or so before starting to increase how many times you go up and down.
Stop and rest at any point that you feel the need during any form of exercise. 'NO PAIN NO GAIN' IS RUBBISH! I believe it's created by male ego. You can get really fit slowly over time. I know because I've done it countless times!
Yes, it is true, once fit you can increase and step things up to experience mild discomfort. If you're a seasoned runner for example in a final of an important race then some pain may be experienced. You only have to look at Mo Farah's face in his various Olympic finals to know he's feeling some pain? Equally, a seasoned bodybuilder squeezing out a final bicep curl in a set will experience some form of pain. But these athletes are already very fit and used to their routine so the pain they feel is not damaging like the pain felt by someone being pushed who is not in good shape at all and is most certainly not used to it either physically or mentally.
So, take a rest when you feel the need during exercise. Also, have at least one day off a week or even two days off a week if you need to. Rest is just as important as any form of training. Top bodybuilders have rest days where they won't train any body part on consecutive days. They let that part and its relative muscles rest so it can recover fully.
If you're a very overweight person and struggle to do any form of exercise then just do SOMETHING. Just start having a light walk for ten minutes or so to get MOVING. If you can't manage every day then aim for every two days. You can slowly start to build it up over time by increasing the number of consecutive days that you exercise as well as the intensity, meaning the speed that you walk.
To lose weight effectively and consistently you need to combine exercise with a change of diet to a healthier, cleaner one such as the first quick weight loss diet on the home page for speeding up the metabolism. Also, take a look at the first two quick weight loss tips and apply them to your diet and exercise routine as well, namely 'cut out the junk' and 'eat a laxative diet'.
Electric treadmills are an effective and simple way to get fit and offer a good and simple exercise to burn fat. They're good for overweight people too as they keep the foot pressure even and level. This is important to eliminate any possible injuries arising from a twisted ankle from uneven surfaces.
I know people who have walking machines and use them daily. If the weather is bad they're a perfect solution for indoor walking. They can also be increased in tempo so you have to walk faster. The incline can also be increased on the more expensive ones so you're effectively walking uphill slightly. Many walking machines also have timers and distance meters so you know how far you've walked, brilliant!
Below are a few ideas available on Amazon. Most of these also allow running, if not all of them. There are cheaper and more expensive models available. Some are able to change the incline to increase the intensity of the workout and some can also play music.
Always read the reviews on anything you like the look of and go for the general bias. I wouldn't be put off by one or two bad reviews out of a lot of good ones.Back To Top
Well this is simply an increase in tempo to walking as we all know and a good exercise to burn fat. If getting yourself a decent pair of trainers is important for walking, then for jogging it's even more so. This is so important for anybody but even more so if you're overweight as you can easily twist an ankle if you have bad footwear as your foot and ankle won't be supported properly.
Another problem with running is that it can put excess strain on your joints and will most definitely do so if you're overweight. The heavier you are the more pressure on your joints there will be. A good pair of training shoes will help to alleviate this.
I know this may seem difficult to do, and almost a bit of a joke considering your possible weight, but try to run 'lightly' if you can. Try to take as much pressure off of your downward movement as you possibly can. Many people, whether overweight or not, run 'heavy'. They slam their feet into the ground. All this does is put extra stress on the joints which can cause long-term mild damage later on in life. Run as lightly as you possibly can to try to reduce this if possible. A good pair of Nike air or similar training shoes will help with this.
Using a treadmill for jogging offers a great indoor exercise to burn fat and is an ideal solution when the weather is bad. Again, treadmills offer a nice flat even surface to eliminate the possibility of any unforeseen injuries that may arise from uneven surfaces.
As with walking on a treadmill, the tempo can be changed to increase the intensity of the workout or to slow it down if you're starting to flag a bit, phew!
Some treadmills at Amazon can be seen below. There are cheaper models available at Amazon too so take a look and see if you can find something to suit your budget. And don't forget to read the reviews on anything you like the look of and go for the general bias.
Please read all the information on walking and apply the same principles for jogging. Basically, increase the intensity when you feel up to it and rest when you need to. As you become more experienced you'll get to know your body's limits and how and when to increase and slow down the intensity.
Remember to drink plenty of water and/or natural juices throughout the day. Leave at least two hours after drinking and four hours after eating before doing any serious exercise.Back To Top
Cycling is a great exercise to burn fat and one of my all-time favourites. What I love about cycling is the lack of pressure that's put on the leg joints. It's almost the perfect cardio-exercise. I used to love cycling to the swimming baths and home again. There's something about being out in the open while moving along. It's like having a cheap convertible!
The only major drawback with this is that the seat/saddle can be a little small for many, especially if you're overweight? Have a hunt around either online or at your nearest store and see what you can find to fit your needs. You don't have to get the latest high-tech model either. The most important thing is that it's comfortable and it has a decent number of gears, say at least ten or twelve just in case you might need them uphill?
Alternatively, and probably the best approach if you're considerably overweight, is to go for an indoor exercise bike as discussed below.
These offer a great exercise to burn fat, get fit and start shedding those pounds, especially the decent models. Professional boxers use cycling machines as do many other professional athletes as they keep pressure off the joints while providing good aerobic exercise to get the heart and lungs going.
There are many options available nowadays at reasonable prices for the larger individual. Many are made with reinforced steel for the heavier lady or man and are also fitted with comfortable wide seats and high backs for extra support and comfort. In my opinion, these machines allow overweight people the perfect aerobic exercise to burn fat and get fitter as they allow good aerobic stimulation while keeping pressure off the joints.
Another great thing about using an indoor exercise bike is you can watch your favourite TV programs while exercising and burning fat, so you'll be killing two birds with one stone, great!
Below are a few of the many available options on Amazon. Remember to read some reviews and look at the overall star rating. There are cheaper and more expensive models available with a variety of different features so have a good look and a good read before you buy.
Click on the pictures below and you'll go straight to that model at Amazon US where you can obviously keep looking...
Please read all the information on walking or I will just keep repeating myself. Basically, increase the intensity when you feel up to it and rest when you need to. Don't overdo it, pace yourself. If you buy an indoor exercise bike you'll get a lot of different features and built-in specific programs which you can utilize.
As previously discussed, you can speed up slightly for 3-5 seconds or more before slowing down and catching your breath before repeating it again when you're ready to. This intermittent approach to intensity offers an excellent way to burn fat and get fitter. Just remember to introduce it slowly overtime to allow your body time to adjust.
Don't forget to drink plenty of water and/or natural juice throughout the day and always leave at least two hours after drinking and four hours after eating before any serious exercise routine.
Swimming is a very healthy exercise to burn fat and one of the best exercises you can do for overall health and fitness. It’s an ideal exercise for almost everybody especially if you’re overweight or disabled in any way as it supports your entire body while allowing you to move every limb in every way possible. Swimming offers a mild form of resistance training as water is heavy. As you move through the water you are actually pushing the water aside although it may not feel like it at times. This is a gentle resistance exercise that uses your muscles in a different way to regular resistance exercises such as cycling or light weight training for example. As a result, you can feel a bit drained afterwards if you aren’t used to it.
Swimming is great if you have joint problems too as it allows you to move your joints while being supported. This means you can exercise with sore or arthritic joints which other exercises don’t allow you to do. I can remember doing T’ai Chi a few times after swimming and it felt incredible, like everything was ‘open’. I could almost feel everything that was happening while I was practicing. This immediately told me that swimming was an excellent exercise that was very close to T’ai Chi in its effect.
Although swimming can be a good exercise to burn fat and for general overall health, do make sure you don’t get caught out and binge on junk food afterwards. Swimming can often leave you with a voracious appetite! I can remember spending hours in the swimming baths when I was a kid and feeling so hungry afterwards that we would go and buy crisps and chocolate and anything else and eat the lot. Well we were kids, come on?! So, go prepared and take something healthy to eat.
As before, build up slowly and monitor how you feel. Increase the duration of the time you spend swimming after a week or so. You can also try to speed up a little bit here and there while slowing down or stopping for a rest in between as discussed in the walking routine to 'Speed up & Slow Down Intermittently'.Back To Top
Rowing is another good exercise to burn fat although not the easiest to do if you're very overweight. Rowing not only provides a decent level of aerobic stimulation to help burn calories and fat, but also offers a good level of resistance training to help build strength and stamina.
I had a rowing machine in my late teens and my legs would burn as they're worked quite well with this exercise. The upper back and posterior shoulder muscles along with the biceps are also worked when rowing and will also probably ache at first.
As with all these exercises start slow and build up over time. If you aren't used to it rowing will make you ache the next day and often the day after and in some cases the day after that too, so take it easy and see how you feel the next couple of days after your first experience with rowing before continuing.
You should never train on aching muscles so you'll need to rest any aching body parts before exercising them again. To keep active and burning fat you can simply do some cycling or other exercise routine that doesn't work any aching muscles. Only increase the intensity and duration of your rowing routine when you start to experience very little or zero aching muscles.
It's unlikely that the majority of people will actually go rowing on a lake on a regular basis, so the 'rowing machine' provides the ideal indoor exercise to burn fat without the possibility of getting wet! Below are a few ideas at Amazon...Back To Top
This is the first exercise I've listed here that has an interactive and somewhat social element to it. The great thing about interactive sports is you play a game while working out. Getting fitter and healthier while having fun is the perfect exercise really. Badminton isn't that hard to play for most people either. The shuttlecock is quite easy to hit as it moves much slower than similar ball related sports that we'll take a look at in a moment.
Don't be fooled though, Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei apparently holds the sport's record for hitting the shuttlecock a staggering 253 mph when he smashed it (a hard-downward stroke) at the Hong Kong open in 2015!? Wow, seriously? Who would think a feathered shuttlecock could actually move that quickly? That's nearly twice the speed of the fastest tennis serve! That's quite incredible really isn't it?
Needless to say, badminton can give you a really good workout as the whole body is worked from the feet right up to the neck. All the leg muscles are worked as you are effectively running and jumping around and lunging at times too. Your arm muscles are also worked as are your shoulders. You also have to twist and turn a bit too so you're exercising the spine along with the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. If you get fit and quite good at badminton it can be quite fast and provides a very good aerobic exercise for a decent cardio workout.
Badminton offers a fun, relatively light and easy exercise to burn fat, get fit and healthy and well-worth trying so why not find a club near you today?
Unless you're pretty good and you play for at least half an hour table tennis is not always the best exercise to burn fat, but it will burn calories for sure. Table tennis does offer another exercise to get you doing something though for those times when you might be hitting a mental or physical block in your exercise routine and you need some variety with a bit of fun. It also has an interactive and social element to it and is ideal for the elder generation too as it doesn't require you to cover much distance while playing.
Table tennis is one of the fastest 'reaction sports' there is and I've played a lot with my son who played for his school. We used to build up quite a sweat many times so I know it offers a good exercise to burn fat and get fit, but like I say, only when you get quite good and you play with someone who's the same level for at least half an hour, preferably more.
All things considered, table tennis is a great game for everyone at all levels old and young alike, so why not find a club near you and have a go?Back To Top
Squash is probably my favourite ball game of all and provides an excellent exercise to burn fat and get fit. I've played quite a bit of squash in the past and loved every second of it. The great thing is, although the ball moves fast it isn't too difficult to get to as you can play off every wall around so it will come to you at some point. This is providing you choose the correct ball for YOU of course. This can be a bit confusing for beginners though as the 'ball bounce' is not always what you might think in terms of easiest first.
To explain a little further, the 'slowest ball' in squash is in fact the hardest to play with because it doesn't bounce very much so you have to get to it quickly. You also have to hit this ball harder to make it bounce to any significant level making playing with this ball a much harder game. This squash ball has two yellow dots on it and is known as a 'double yellow' and only for top level players.
On the contrary, the 'fastest ball' means it bounces more. This ball comes to you quicker so you don't have to chase it as much. You also don't have to hit this ball very hard to make it bounce significantly as it is naturally quite 'bouncy'. Playing with this ball makes for a much easier game. This ball has a blue dot on it and is for complete beginners, those of you who are less agile and also for older people.
The order of 'dot colours' for squash balls is;
If you're at all athletic and looking for a good exercise to burn fat and get fit you'll probably get bored with a blue dot ball and probably even the red dot too. I know I did after a relatively short time of playing. I soon started playing with a single yellow dot ball as it gave me and my opponent a good game and a good workout.
I've built up a real sweat and been quite fatigued at times after an hour of playing squash, so if you aren't used to exercising then start with a fast ball (blue dot) first before progressing to the red dot ball.
Another thing I love about squash is you can actually go and have a knock about by yourself to get some practice in. This is ideal if you lack confidence or don't have someone to play with. Go and hire a court for half an hour at you local sports centre and go for it!Back To Top
Tennis is a great game and offers another excellent exercise to burn fat and get fit. This is not an easy game to play though and certainly not suitable for someone who is very overweight or has no previous experience with playing these types of ball and racket sports. A tennis court is quite a big area and you'll find yourself walking to get the ball more than actually playing the game. In fact, that's totally fine as you'll be walking around quite a bit so you'll be getting plenty of exercise. You just might find it a little frustrating at times though? It isn't until you've played tennis that you fully understand why they have ball-boys and girls?!
If you're quite able bodied and in decent shape though, and you're looking for variety to help keep the flab at bay, then tennis is an excellent, fun way to do that. I played a fair bit of tennis as a schoolboy and still do now with my son, and I know it can be a very demanding game and a great way to get fit especially as you get better at playing.
If you think tennis might be a bit too much for you though, then stick with badminton or squash as they require a lot less walking around to get the ball or shuttlecock.Back To Top
Some refer to this as 'jumping rope' but here in the UK in a boxing gym it's simply referred to as 'skipping'. This great exercise to burn fat is the first of what I would consider part of a circuit training routine. I skipped for thousands of minutes when I was younger and loved it! Even now, if I come across a rope I go for it. A leather rope is by far the best and the only type you'll find in a boxing gym. The weight of the leather keeps the rope swinging properly and allows you to speed up really fast when you become efficient at it.
When you get really good you can do doubles and even treble revolutions of the rope while in the air before landing on the floor again. This can only be done with a leather rope though as used by boxers as seen below and if you're fit and agile enough to do it of course.
When you're able to increase the intensity, skipping really is a great exercise to burn fat, build strength, stamina and fitness especially when combined with other circuit training exercises such as those below...Back To Top
Another common circuit training exercise that we used to do at the end of training in the boxing gym was the star jump, also known as a jumping jack in the US and Canada. This is a great exercise to burn fat as you'll get a real sweat on if you do them correctly and for long enough or even combine them with other high energy exercises as part of a circuit training routine.
Star jumps work your shoulder muscles, trapezius muscles (traps), upper back, thighs and calves while providing a decent aerobic cardio-workout.
Simply stand with your feet together with arms by your side. Start by jumping as you stretch both arms out to the side and slightly above your head or even right above your head if you want to where you should touch palms together. Your legs should both go out to the side at the same time before landing wider than shoulder width apart on your toes before quickly jumping again to bring the legs back in while remaining on your toes. At the same time the arms should come down again so the palms touch the side of your thighs. Keep the momentum going by repeating continuously for as long as you can.Back To Top
The standing knee raise is a relatively simple exercise to burn fat and offers a 'primer' for the next two exercises that follow further down, namely the 'half tuck jump' (hopping, standing knee raise) and full 'tuck jump' which is a much more demanding exercise both technically and physically.
The standing knee raise works the abdominal muscles and thighs but doesn't provide that much aerobic and cardio stimulation compared with other exercises in this section.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and raise one knee as high as you can bring it up before lowering it back to the floor and repeating with the other knee. Repeat the process as many times as you feel comfortable alternating both knees. This can be practiced alone or mix it with other circuit training exercises from this section.Back To Top
I call this exercise the 'half tuck jump' which will be clearer when you take a look at the 'full tuck jump' below. The half tuck jump is a progression of the standing knee raise above as you do exactly the same for this exercise but you hop before you bring the knee up. It is in fact an exaggerated and standing variation of a child skipping along as they do. Like all the exercises in this section, practice the half tuck jump by itself or with other circuit training exercises to burn fat and get fit!
Note: Master this exercise before attempting the more demanding full tuck jump below.Back To Top
The tuck jump offers another high energy exercise to burn fat but should not be practiced unless you can easily do the half tuck jump above first.
Tuck jumps were something I used to do while skipping to practice 'doubles' or 'trebles' where you would whip the rope around two or three times while in the air. This is only possible when you're fit and agile though so don't try it unless you can skip very well and you've practiced tuck jumps without a rope. Practicing tuck jumps while skipping can only be done with a leather rope as used by boxers as seen further up after the 'skipping' description.
Tuck jumps work the body quite hard. They provide an excellent aerobic cardio workout that helps to build strength, stamina and fitness. This is a strenuous exercise that works the abdominal muscles (abs), thighs, back and shoulders with a lot of individual muscles being tensed while executing the exercise.
Tuck jumps can be practiced alone or as part of a circuit training routine.
This is a very intensive aerobic exercise that works the whole body so you need to have good balance, good technique and be in good shape to execute it properly and safely. If you aren't confident don't try it! Master the half tuck first before attempting this one.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Jump up while keeping your back and head up straight while you bring the knees as high as possible which is usually just below the chest before landing on the feet again as lightly as possible. Repeat continuously while you keep the momentum going for as long as you feel comfortable.Back To Top
The squat thrust is another high energy, physically demanding exercise to burn fat and get fit. I can remember going to a gymnastic gym with a good friend of mine who was a good gymnast. They did a variation of these where you leave the upper part of the foot in contact with the ground and slid the feet back and forth to strengthen the body. They were tougher than regular squat thrusts as described here.
Squat thrusts strengthen the abdominal muscles, upper thighs, shoulders and arms while providing a good aerobic cardio-workout at the same time.
Lay on the floor on your front and support yourself as if you were going to perform a press-up with your feet slightly apart. Quickly lift both feet and bring both knees up to your chest before planting both feet back on the floor before you throw both feet back again instantly to the starting position. Keep the momentum going by repeating the process continuously for as long as you can.
This is a tough exercise on par with the tuck jump above in terms of physical demand on the body as well as technique required.Back To Top
Yes, a strange name I agree, but the burpee is without doubt a terrific hard-hitting exercise to burn fat, build strength and get fit. This exercise builds on the squat thrust above and was another one of the many exercises included in our circuit training routine at the end of a hard nights boxing training in my youth. There are a couple of variations to this exercise but both work the whole body quite hard.
The shoulders, arms, legs and stomach are all worked with this exercise to build strength and stamina, but the burpee also offers a decent aerobic, cardio-workout to get the lungs and heart pumping!
Apply the same method for the squat thrust above but as you bring the knees up to the chest you jump straight up in the air before coming back down and throwing the legs back again to repeat the process. Basically, this exercise is a squat thrust with an added jump in the air.
Apply the same method as above but when your legs are stretched out to the rear you add a full press up to the exercise. So, the full burpee is a squat thrust with an added press up and also a jump in the air.
This is a pretty tough exercise for anyone even if you're quite fit and agile so you'll need to be in decent shape and have good technique before attempting it. Master squat thrusts and press ups individually before trying the full burpee. Add this exercise to other exercises from this section to create your own fat burning, circuit training workout!
Both of these exercises are a variation of the same thing. Each is not the best exercise to burn fat but they will help when combined with other exercises from this section and they'll definitely strengthen the abdominal muscles and upper thighs. Just remember, you CANNOT 'spot lose weight'. Meaning, you can't lose weight from specific areas. Your body will take it away from where it wants to take it away from. I say this because people often think that doing a stomach muscle strengthening exercise like sit ups or leg raises will 'tone that tummy fat', not true! It's impossible to turn fat into muscle as fat and muscle are two completely different body tissues.
You can however burn fat through exercise and tone your abdominal muscles at the same time, great!
For the single knee raise lay on your back with your feet together and your hands on the floor by your side. Bring up one knee to your chest or as high as you can and then lower it again to the starting position. Bring up the other knee to your chest and then lower it again to its starting position. Continue to repeat this process alternating between both legs for as long as you feel comfortable. Speed up and slow down as you feel.
The double knee raise is exactly the same as the single knee raise but you bring both knees up to the chest together. This is obviously slightly more strenuous than one knee at a time.
Note: you may find it more comfortable to place both of your hands on top of each other on the middle of your chest throughout the exercise.
For the single leg raise lay on your back with your feet together and your hands on the floor by your side. Keeping your leg straight, raise one leg off the floor and keep it moving upward until it points straight upwards so it's 90 degrees to the floor. If you can't take it that high just take it as high as you can. Lower it back down to the floor to the starting position. Repeat the same process with your other leg. Continue to repeat this process alternating between both legs for as long as you feel comfortable.
The double leg raise is exactly the same as the single leg raise but you raise both legs up together. This is obviously slightly more strenuous than one leg at a time.
Leg raises are more difficult than knee raises so practice knee raises for a while to get your abdominal muscles used to the routine.
Note: keeping your lower back and spine touching the floor as you raise your legs will put extra strain on your stomach muscles. This is the strict method for this exercise if you want to add a little bit extra. To do this you have to pull your stomach downwards towards the floor as you raise your legs. As you do this you'll feel your abdominal muscles squeeze and tighten up. I wouldn't overdo it the first time though or you'll be aching a lot the next day for sure!Back To Top
Like the knee and leg raise above, the snap-up is not the best exercise to burn fat specifically, but it's a terrific exercise that will help with weight loss when combined with other circuit training exercises from this section, as well as help to build core strength and stamina. Like many of these exercises, snap-ups were one of our 'end of boxing training exercises' and one that I personally loved to do a lot whether in the gym or at home. A real stomach muscle worker this one that'll test your technique and your stamina.
A snap-up is a combination of a regular sit-up and a double leg raise as described above. It does take a bit of getting used to both physically and technically, but once mastered it's a great addition to a serious circuit workout!
Lay on your back with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Raise your torso and both legs at the same time so both your torso and your legs are roughly 45 degrees to the floor, or more if you can. You will effectively be balancing on your bottom. Your arms should simultaneously lift off the floor and either point forward or upward toward the ceiling or where they naturally go for you. Lay back down flat on the floor to the starting position. Repeat the process as many times as you can.
Note: this is a pretty tough exercise on the abdominal muscles so don't do too many at first. See how you feel the next day before increasing the number and duration. Also, the arms can go behind the head and thrown forward to help give you some momentum to get you off the floor when first starting this exercise. This is a tricky exercise to do at first but once you get used to it it's fine.
When you become proficient at this exercise it's performed very quickly. This is where the term 'snap-up' comes from.
Probably one of the most well-known and biggest dance styles to hit studios and dance halls in the West, Zumba offers an incredible high energy dance exercise to burn fat and get fit.
Zumba was created in the 1990's by Alberto Perez, a Colombian dancer and choreographer and includes influences from Salsa, Samba, Merengue, Soca and Mambo music and their related dance moves. The name 'Zumba' is simply created as a brand name with no real meaning.
As far as I can make out, Zumba seems to be a very energetic dance form that's very loose and natural in its moves. This makes it suitable for larger people who might find other forms of dance more difficult to perform as you're basically moving your body in a very natural and easy manner. Don't be fooled though, Zumba provides a good aerobic cardio-workout to get the heart and lungs going as you become fitter and more accustomed to the moves.
Find a class near you or workout at home if you prefer with a DVD such as those below on Amazon or take a look at the video below to learn the basics...Back To Top
'Latin Dance' is a general term for a variety of individual but similar dance styles that mostly originated in Latin America. There's a few of these styles that most of us have heard of which are included in competitive ballroom dancing known as 'dancesport'. There are also other Latin dance styles though that are not so well known which are performed at various social and exhibition meetings all over the world.
I'm going to give you a quick break down of the most popular Latin dance styles in use today for competition as well as for social meetings and exhibitions. They are all very similar with slight variations here and there. Some are better than others as an exercise to burn fat as a few are slower than others traditionally, but all will get you moving and help to get you in shape.
And don't forget, you can do this stuff in the privacy of your own home too and you DO NOT need a partner either. Even though each of these dances are demonstrated with two people dancing together, all of the moves can be practised alone. So put on some music and dance your troubles away!
So, if you love dancing and you're looking for a new and exciting exercise to burn fat and get fitter, or you just want a different way to maintain your shape, you're in luck!
The Latin dances listed here are the Salsa, Samba, Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, Mambo and Merengue.
Just scroll down to read about each one...
Possibly the most well-known and popular Latin dance out there for social, fun and fitness is the Salsa. The Salsa originated in the Caribbean islands with influences from Puerto Rican and Cuban music and offers a lovely, flowing Latin dance for a gentle and fun exercise to burn fat and get fit.
Like all dances, Salsa has a lot of footwork but it differs from many other dance forms as the torso is often kept very still while the arms move around in a graceful, flowing action.
Why not take a look at some of the DVD's on Amazon below for beginners and also the video underneath, and, if you like the look of Salsa, why not try to find a class near you? Alternatively, you could just practice at home on your own or with a friend...
Another well-known and popular dance is the Samba. This dance is the national dance of Brazil and part of the Latin/rhythm category of competitive dances for ballroom dancing known as 'dancesport'. Although big in Brazil, the Samba's roots are in Africa as the black Africans brought their music and dance to Latin America when they arrived hundreds of years ago as slaves.
At least some good came out of a bad situation though, as the Samba is now known throughout the world of dance and offers a terrific exercise to burn fat and get fit! There are various forms of the Samba that have developed from the original dance as it was altered and influenced in various ways from similar dance styles and musical genres. If you're interested you can read about the various types of Samba at Wikipedia.
Generally speaking, the Samba is a lively dance that requires good, fast footwork with quite a lot of knee bending and straightening so the thighs are worked quite a bit. Like all quick forms of dance, the Samba also provides a good aerobic, cardio-workout to get the lungs and heart pumping, great!
If you think you might like to try Samba as a fun exercise to burn fat or just stay in shape then take a look at some of the DVD's available at Amazon below. The video underneath them will also give you some quick lessons and ideas, and, if you like the look of Samba you could also look online for some classes in your area...
I think most have heard of the cha cha cha or simply cha cha in the US. This is another dance that's included on the list for the Latin/rhythm category of competitive dances for 'dancesport'. The cha cha's origins are actually from two other well-known Latin dances, namely the rumba and mambo which we'll look at in a moment.
It's said that Enrique Jorin, a Cuban violinist, composer and music director slowed down the music of the fast-paced rumba and mambo and the cha cha cha was born. The term 'cha cha cha' is said to be from Haiti and describes the sound of the shuffling feet of the dancers.
This is a nice Latin dance that provides a light, aerobic cardio-workout and a fun exercise to burn fat and keep slim. Why not take a look at the training DVD's on Amazon and the instructional video below to learn in your own home, or look online to find a class near you?
Another well-known dance in the Latin/rhythm category for competitive ballroom dancing is the Rumba. The Rumba originated in the northern regions of Cuba particularly Havana and Matanzas and has African and Spanish musical influences.
The rumba has changed over the years from its original roots and there are also variations of the dance. If you're interested then take a look at the article about the rumba by DanceSportPlace.com.
The jive originated from African American clubs in the early 1940's and is a lively variation of the jitterbug, a dance popularized in the United States in the early 1900's which is associated with various types of swing dances.
The jive is a very lively dance that's typically performed to good ol' rock 'n roll! It'll definitely get your heart and lungs going for a good aerobic, cardio-workout and provides a fun exercise to burn fat and keep the weight off, great!
Another Cuban-born dance is the Mambo. This free and easy dance form is very similar to many other Latin dances discussed here which you would expect as most of them have similar influences and origins, but the mambo is said to be less structured in its application and more about the 'feel' of the music which I think makes it a bit more fun!
Mambo music was written in the 1930's by a Cuban composer called Arsenio Rodriguez. The actual dance however is said to have been created by a musician called Perez Prado in the late 1940's. Mambo is performed in professional ballroom competitions worldwide as part of the Latin/rhythm category.
This is another nice Latin dance that provides a decent level of aerobic activity to offer a fun, social exercise to burn fat and keep slim. Below are some training DVD's on Amazon and an instructional video for beginners further down so you can learn in your own home. Alternatively, look online to find a class near you?
The Merengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic but is also one the traditional musical styles of Puerto Rico. The origin of the Merengue dance is said to have come from slaves working in sugar beet fields. They were connected to each other by chains strapped to their ankles so they had to walk in a way that forced them to drag one leg and why the dance tends to have small steps at times.
Needless to say, the Merengue consists of small steps with a gentle bending of the knees which affects hip movement. Partners circle one another while holding each other in a seemingly traditional ballroom dancing manner, as well as walking sideways together at times.
This dance can often get quite fast some of the time where it provides a good cardio-workout and a decent, fun exercise to burn fat and get fit or just to keep in shape.Back To Top