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3 Ways Aerobic Exercise Boosts Your Metabolism and Helps You Lose Weight

Although it is possible to lose weight without exercising, a regular exercise routine will greatly accelerate your weight loss. Here’s why, from The Fiber35 Diet by Brenda Watson, C.N.C. Plus, a list of exercises and how many calories they burn.

Aerobic exercise significantly boosts your metabolism. Although it is possible to lose weight without exercising, a regular exercise routine—three times per week for at least thirty minutes per session—will greatly accelerate your weight loss. Most important, by exercising, you will receive all the associated health benefits that come along with exercise. Foremost, it is a boon to the cardiovascular system.

Aerobic exercise helps you to lose weight and boosts your metabolism in three ways. First, it heightens your metabolism during your exercise period and burns a significant number of extra calories. A typical forty-five­minute aerobic exercise period burns 350 extra calories. If you exercise three times per week for forty- five minutes each time, you will burn 1,050 calories during your workouts. Over a month’s time, that’s 4,200 calories, or more than 1 pound. Over a year, that’s an extra 12 pounds.

Second, if the exercise is high-­intensity (meaning that it causes a significant increase in your heart rate and respiration), your metabolism will remain elevated for an extended period of time, so that you will continue to burn calories at an accelerated rate after you have stopped exercising.

Third, aerobic exercise maintains lean muscle mass, which is crucial during your weight loss phase. Your objective is to lose fat, not muscle. Some aerobic exercises actually increase lean muscle mass, but many do not. For this reason, aerobic exercise should be done in combination with strength training, so that you are increasing your lean muscle mass while getting the immediate calorie-burning benefit of the aerobic exercise.

Although strength training can certainly be done at a pace that is considered aerobic, in most cases it’s anaerobic. Strength training can certainly elevate your heart rate and help you burn extra calories; but more important, it increases lean muscle mass, which increases your metabolic rate to help you burn more calories twenty­ four hours a day. By mixing aerobic activity with strength training, you give yourself the maximum benefit.

The key to your aerobic exercise program is to find one or two exercises you enjoy, since you’ll be more apt to do them. You should exercise three times per week for at least thirty minutes per session. Below is a chart that shows various exercises and how many calories you will burn in a one-hour session.

Calories Burned by 1 Hour of Exercise
Aerobics, general: 422
Aerobics, low­-impact: 352
Aerobics, high-impact: 493
Bicycling, leisurely, <10 mph: 281
Bicycling, moderate, 10–14 mph: 563
Bicycling, vigorous, 14–16 mph: 704
Dancing, aerobic, general: 422
Gardening, moderate activity: 352
Golf, walking (no cart): 281
Health club exercise, general: 387
Jogging 5 mph (12-minute mile) or less: 493
Rowing, stationary, light effort: 493
Rowing, stationary, moderate effort: 598
Rowing, stationary, vigorous: 844
Running, 7 mph (8.5-minute mile): 809
Running, 8.6 mph (7-minute mile): 985
Running, all ­out 10 mph (6-minute mile): 1126
Skating, ice, general: 387
Stair/treadmill, general: 422
Stretching, hatha yoga: 281
Swimming laps, freestyle­, moderate: 563
Swimming laps, freestyle, fast: 704
Tai chi: 281
Walking, 2 mph, slow pace: 176
Walking, 3 mph, moderate pace: 246
Walking, 4 mph, very brisk pace: 281
Weight lifting, light/moderate: 211
Weight lifting, heavy: 422

Brenda Watson, C.N.C., is the bestselling author of The Fiber35 Diet: Nature’s Weight Loss Secret (Copyright © 2007 by Brenda Watson) and The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps and is one of the foremost dietary authorities in America today. She has gained national recognition with her televised PBS special, Brenda Watson’s H.O.P.E. Formula: The Ultimate Health Secret. Ms. Watson has two grown children and currently lives in Florida with her husband, Stan, and their dogs.





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