Discover the best exercises and tools to lose weight, lower your injury risk and more!
Ditch and Switch
You’ve found an exercise plan that works for you (no small feat!), so why change it? Over time, your body adapts to the same routine, decreasing your calorie burn as your muscles get better at doing those same moves over and over. Instead of plateauing, try these simple upgrades to kick things up a notch—and keep getting results.
Instead of: a pedometer
Try: a heart rate monitor
While a pedometer tells you how many steps you take, “if you want to burn more fat, you need to measure intensity,” says Guy Andrews, executive director of Exercise ETC, Inc., a fitness education provider in Fort Lauderdale, FL. And a heart rate monitor does just that. Strap one on and do your favorite cardio routine at a pace that causes breathlessness in two to three minutes. When it becomes difficult to speak, check your heart rate. “This is where you want to spend as much time as possible during exercise,” says Andrews.
Instead of: hula-hooping
Both hula hooping and Zumba use similar hip and core movements, but Zumba burns many more calories, says Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse concluded that Zumba not only improves cardiorespiratory fitness but also body composition,” which reduces body fat. Specifically, that study showed that Zumba burns an average of 475 calories in 50 minutes while hula-hooping burns 350 calories in that same time. Achieve your weight-loss goals more quickly by swapping out hooping for Zumba classes three times a week.
Instead of: an elliptical
Try: a treadmill
You may feel you’re burning more calories on the elliptical, but the treadmill offers bone-building benefits. “Every footstep you take creates an impact, which travels up your leg. Your hip absorbs it and becomes stronger and denser,” says Andrews. Because your feet remain in contact with the elliptical, you don’t get that impact. Besides, the calorie burn you get from a treadmill can equal what ellipticals offer: In a half-hour, expect to burn 215 calories at a moderate pace on an elliptical versus between 179 and 226 calories at 4 mph on a treadmill. Just check with your doctor before switching if you have osteoporosis. Otherwise, start slowly and gradually increase your speed and duration.
Instead of: group training
Try: one-on-one training
Try: free weights
Originally published on Womansday.com