Effective Cardio Workouts for Permanent Weight Loss

Engaging in exercise that burns calories long after the workout is over can be an effective way to produce long-term weight-loss, according to Chantal A. Vella and Len Kravitz in the IDEA Fitness Journal article “Exercise After-Burn: A Research Update.”

Post-exercise calorie-burn workouts need to focus on intensity (how hard you are working), amount of time your workout lasted, and in some cases, the type of exercise performed.

Exercise Intensity

Exercise intensity– moderate- to high-intensity –is shown to be the most effective in terms of post-exercise calorie burn, according to Vella and Kravitz’ findings. Studies also showed that several workouts a day in a short time frame can be even more effective than one bout of exercise.

In addition to cardiovascular training, resistance training– specifically circuit strength training –is also a good way to get the post-exercise calorie burn. Resistance training should be included in a weekly weight loss program at least 2 to 3 times a week.

Effective Cardio Workouts

Sample Workouts to Maximize Post-Exercise Calorie Burn

  1. High-intensity cardio for 30-60 minutes keeping heart rate at 80%-90% Maximal Heart Rate (MHR)–See below to determine MHR.
  2. Moderate-intensity long and slow distance workout for 60-80 minutes, heart rate at 75%-80% MHR.
  3. High-intensity exercise bouts split throughout the day, 2-4 times, for 15-25 minutes, at 80%-90% MHR.
  4. Interval training, where you exercise at a low-intensity for 3 minutes (55%-60% MHR), then a high intensity (85%-95% MHR) for 3 minutes, until you reach 30-60 minutes.
  5. Circuit Resistance Training (weight machines or functional strength circuit) performing 2-3 circuit sets, 6-10 exercises, and 10-12 repititions (or more) to fatigue. Rest is taken after each set.

Calculate Max Heart Rate

To determine MHR, take 220 minus your age. Use that product to multiply by .8 (80%), or whatever the percentage is, to determine what numbers to keep you heart rate between.

For example, a 40-year old female would take 220 – 40 = 180. 180 X .8 = 144. 180 X .9 = 162. Therefore, she would need to keep her heart rate between 144 and 162 beats per minute, which would be used for the high-intensity workouts mentioned above.

Checking Heart Rate during Exercise

The best way to monitor your heart rate during exercise is with a heart rate monitor. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, then you can check your pulse during exercise. To do this take your index and middle fingers to one side of the neck, directly under the chin.

Count the beats for 6 seconds, then add a zero to that number. Some cardio machines come equipped with heart rate monitors; just grab the silver handles and your heart rate should appear.

Always remember to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Stop if you feel dizzy, nauseated, or light-headed. Consult with your doctor about any medications you are taking to learn whether your heart rate might be affected during exercise. Stay hydrated and take the necessary precautions when exercising in extreme heat or cold conditions.

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