Good sports for burning calories

Published by Sarah Horrocks
Published on 5 September 2008

We all know exercise helps you lose weight, but some types of intensive exercise burn more calories than others. Less effort for more effect?

We all know exercise helps you lose weight, but some types of intensive exercise burn more calories than others. Less effort for more effect?

Exercise and weight loss

Whatever your sport, exercise will give you a body to die for. Why?

- It mobilises fat reserves. Exercising uses the body's easily accessible fuel (usually in the form of carbohydrate and fat). Once your carb stores have been used up, the body starts to attack its fat reserves.

- It increases energy combustion, even at rest. Building and repairing muscle mass uses lots of energy even when your body is at rest, unlike fat mass which does not burn any calories at all. Exercise improves the body's ability to burn calories at rest.

- It tones your body. Muscles are heavy but take up less space than fat! Exercise defines and sculpts your body in all the right places.

- It regulates appetite. When you exercise you're physically and mentally occupied, and you secrete wellbeing hormones. This helps limit food obsessions and snacking.

- It helps maintain good balance. When you exercise, your body feels valued, you feel good in your skin and your head, and it shows!

The best sports for calorie burning
- Skiing. 500 to 750 kcal per hour. There’s nothing better than whizzing down the pistes if you want a sculpted figure with long lean legs!
- Roller blading. Between 500 and 750 kcal/h. And a bum of steel to boot.
- Jogging. Around 550 kcal/h. When you run you get a complete muscular and cardio-vascular workout, without bulking up your limbs.
- Racket sports (badminton, tennis, squash etc.) 500 kcal/h. These burn loads of calories well, as long as you run after the ball or shuttle hard enough!
- Fitness (step, aerobics etc) are equally good at getting you sweating and zapping cals.
- Cycling. 300-600 kcal/h. It all depends on the speed, the ground and weather conditions. Cycling is good exercise for overweight people as the bike supports your weight and you don't get much pressure on the back and joints.
- Swimming. 300 kcal/h. Works all the muscles in the arms, legs and trunk. It also gives you leaner legs as it improves blood circulation.
- Walking. Between 180 and 250 kcal/h. OK, it’s not huge but if you do it a little every day you’ll soon see results!

Advice
- Don't exercise just after a meal, for the sake of your digestion and for better burning of your fat reserves.
- Combine several sports to get a slim body and even tone. Ideally, an endurance sport (cycling, swimming, jogging or walking), flexibilty exercise (stretching, yoga etc.), weights (weights or aquaerobics) and a sport that helps balance and coordination (racket or ball sports, dance etc.) are good combinations.
- Warm up before each session and cool down at the end. Preparation and recuperation are essential.
- If you want real results you need to exercise regularly!

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