How to Do Aerobics for Weight Loss

How to Do Aerobics for Weight Loss

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A video aerobics class works well if you don't want to join a gym.

Allan Danahar/Photodisc/Getty Images

A December 2012 study on exercise and weight and fat loss published in the “Journal of Applied Physiology" demonstrated that aerobic exercise is more effective at reducing body and fat mass than resistance training because it burns more calories. To trim your weight, be aware that exercise alone won't succeed unless your caloric intake is less than the number of calories you burn each day. Choose a form of aerobic exercise you enjoy, rather than something you dislike, so you are more likely to exercise with enough intensity and frequency to burn more calories than you consume.


Engage in aerobic exercise three to five days a week for at least 10 minutes per day to boost your caloric burn above the number of calories that you consume daily. Most guidelines suggest 30 minutes per day, so break it up if you can't commit to a 30-minute block of time. For example, you can take a brisk 10-minute walk before you go to work and another 10-minute exercise break at lunch and do 10 to 15 minutes of brisk aerobic exercise about an hour or so before bedtime to get in your 30 minutes per day.


Raise your heart rate during exercise to between 65 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. To get your maximum heart rate in beats per minute, subtract your age from 220. To find your heart rate before and during your workout, lightly touch your carotid artery to find your pulse, count beats for 10 seconds and then multiply by 10.


Vary the intensity of your aerobic exercise to burn more calories. Run, jump rope, aerobic dance or swim laps until you have difficulty catching your breath and then slow down until you can breathe easier before upping the intensity again. Higher intensity exercise burns more calories in a shorter amount of time. Running can burn between 600 and 1300 calories per hour depending on your weight and speed. Walking burns between 200 and 470 calories per hour.


Vary the type of exercise you do so you don't get bored. Take an aerobics dance class one or more days a week to enjoy the fun of working out with others and vary the routine. Swim one or more days a week to combine aerobic exercise and the resistance benefit you gain from working out in water. Walk with a friend or family member, combining aerobic exercise with time to catch up and spend quality time together. Use housework to add more aerobic exercise sweeping, vacuuming or mowing the lawn.


Compare the number of calories burned during exercise and your caloric intake. High-impact aerobics can burn between 530 and 800 calories per hour depending on your weight and intensity level. Low-impact aerobics burns about 365 to 545 calories per hour. Water aerobics can burn between 400 and 600 calories per hour and jumping rope can burn between 860 and 1285 calories per hour. Stair stepping burns about 655 and 980 calories per hour and rollerblading burns about 550 to 815 calories per hour. If you aren't losing weight, decrease your caloric intake and increase your exercise intensity and frequency.


  • Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
  • Burn 500 calories per day more than you consume to loose an average of one pound per week. Eat foods rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients to maintain a healthy weight-loss diet.