Just because you’re sitting doesn’t mean you’re not going to break a sweat. Some of those seated exercise machines you see at the gym burn more calories than activities you would do standing up. Just don’t use the seat as a place to relax -- you’re there to work out after all.
The stationary bike should be your first stop at the gym -- it burns off way more calories than the majority of other pieces of fitness equipment. Going at a vigorous pace for 30 minutes gets rid of about 315 calories if you weigh 125 pounds. But if you’re at 155 pounds, you’ll use up over 390 calories in a half hour, as long as you pedal as fast as you can.
If you want to feel like a professional rower, but don’t have access to a boat, paddles or even a body of water, just hop on the rowing machine. In 30 minutes of hardcore rowing, you’ll burn around 255 calories at a weight of 125 pounds. Weighing closer to 155 pounds, means that you’ll burn up more than 315 calories in the same time frame, going at the same vigorous pace.
Riders are those machines that you sit on, grasp the handlebars, then pull the handlebars toward you, while you move your pelvis up. It’s a full-body workout, but you’re sitting the whole time. A half hour on a rider uses 150 calories if you weigh 125 pounds. At a weight of 155 pounds, you’ll burn more than 185 calories in 30 minutes on the rider.
You need to include some weight exercises in your workout regimen to so you can build muscles and strengthen your bones. Spending a half hour casually using the weight machines shaves off 90 calories, if you weigh 125 pounds, or up to 115 calories, if you are at 155 pounds. But if you’re feeling really energetic and hit the circuit instead, you’ll more than double the amount of calories you shave off. Circuits require you to do as many repetitions on the weight machine as you can in a small amount of time, typically about a minute, and then do cardio for the same amount of time. You go back and forth between the weight machines and the cardio activity until you complete the entire circuit. In a 30-minute circuit routine, you can burn 240 calories at 125 pounds, or almost 300 calories if you weigh 155 pounds.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week, suggests the MayoClinic.com website. Although, if you’re doing high-impact vigorous exercise on the machines, you need a minimum of 75 minutes a week. On top of this, you should do strength training twice weekly. If your goal is to drop pounds, you’ll have to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound. To lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, you'll need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories per day. You can also meet that goal by reducing your calorie intake by 250 to 500 calories each day and burning 250 to 500 calories each day through exercise -- seated or standing.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.