File photo credit: Wikimedia commons
By Benedict Yeo
Fat loss occurs when energy expenditure exceeds caloric intake. Cardio workouts are our allies in the battle against fats. With a bit of method and hard work, we will be able to burn the calories with these winning eleven cardio workouts.
Note that there are many variables which determine the amount of calories burnt. The heavier you are, the more energy you expend during workouts. And then there’s the intensity of the workout. A leisurely stroll would be radically different from a high-speed brisk walk. Length of the workout is another variable. As a general rule, the longer the workout, the more energy expended.
This article estimates that amount of calories burnt for someone weighing 70 kilograms for each of the workouts. All references are drawn from http://calorielab.com/.
Jogging is primarily effective for toning the lower body but works the abdominals and back. You need a pair of good running shoes to shield your knees from impact. For serious folks, you can join clubs like MacRitchie Runners 25 who run at the reservoir if you can pass the time trial.
Calories burnt per hour: 490 (8 km/h)
2. Martial Arts
Martial arts demand swift movements and improve hand-eye coordination. They strengthen your core muscles and hone your balance. Styles which include both kicks and punches – taekwondo, wushu, kickboxing, mixed martial arts – are effective full body workouts.
Calories burnt per hour: 612
Swimming works all areas of the body. For cardio workouts, the point is to get your heart rate up, so rigorous swims are more effective than slow leisurely swims. Don’t let anyone tell you swimming must be easy. If you go at it fast, it can be tough. Try out all the strokes: Breast stroke, backstroke, butterfly stroke and freestyle. Butterfly stroke burns the most calories.
Calories burnt per hour: 420 – 630 (light to moderate effort, laps)
Rowing sculpts your arms and back. It is perfect for ridding yourself of those flabby arms. If you prefer to stay indoors, rowing machines are available in gyms. If you like the open water, go for a boat or canoe.
Calories burnt per hour: 420-520 (outdoors: 7-9km/h) (indoor rowing: 100 watts or RPE11-13)
Among the racquet sports, squash offers one of the most vigorous workouts because of the quick exchanges. You have to perform lunges, lateral movements and swing the racquet. It works up a good sweat and strengthens the legs, torso and arms.
Calories burnt per hour: 770
Exercise on a set of wheels can be a breeze, but it can also be effective for burning those calories if you would step on those pedals hard. It is one of few sports that work the legs and yet are easy on the knees. Be careful when cycling on the road. Install head and tail lights, especially if you are cycling at night.
Calories burnt per hour: 476 (20-22 km/h)
7. Running up the Stairs
If you have a long stairway outside of your apartment, you’re in luck. This exercise is great for toning the butt and thighs. It also strengthens the knees. Note that this is an intensive cardiovascular exercise. Start slow, and do shorter runs. Gradually increase the pace and length of your run as your body gets conditioned to running up stairs.
Calories burnt per hour: 800-1000
Rollerblading strengthens the quadriceps and the hamstrings and almost every muscle group in the lower body because of the side-to-side movement. It is easier on the joints compared to running, reducing impact by up to 50%, making it a choice sport for people with weak knees. Steer clear of abrupt twists and turns to avoid injuries. For it to be an effective cardio workout, you need to go fast enough to feel the wind rushing by. Going uphill makes it an even more effective.
Calories burnt per hour: 770
Basketball is great for strengthening the upper and lower body, and it also helps you to develop strong bones. Stronger bones are more resistant to breaking. Just shooting the hoops would not serve you in your quest to stay trim – you need to you out there running and playing a proper game for basketball to be effective. For maximum intensity, go mano a mano.
Calories burnt per hour: 490 (5 on 5 game)
10 . Skipping Rope
It’s not just for children. Skipping rope has long since been one of the most effective cardiovascular workouts. Be sure to avoid the ‘schoolgirl jump’, where you tuck your heels into the butt as you jump. If you are doing it right, your heels will never touch the ground. Master the basic jump before doing the fancy moves. A wooden floor would be better for your joints than hard concrete ground. Excellent workout for the legs, especially the calves.
Calories burnt per hour: 490-770 (Slow-fast)
11 . Beach Volleyball
At an elite level, beach volleyball is played by two opposing teams of two players each. It conditions the pecs, shoulders, arm, upper back, core, gluts, lower back, thighs and calves. Furthermore, it is a low-impact sport because of the sandy terrain. The soft sand cushions your falls and dives. If you play barefoot, you can work the muscles in your feet that are seldom used when wearing shoes.
Calories burnt per hour: 490