If you're looking to slim down and lose weight but don't necessarily want to put on muscle mass, cardio workouts are an effective choice. Cardio workouts, which are aerobic in nature, don't build bulk muscle. Conversely, cardio exercises are ideal for slimming down and losing weight. You'll also be able to maintain a toned body with lean muscle instead of bulk muscle. Perform these exercises at a moderate pace and you'll experience noticeable changes in your body's composition.
Jumping rope is an extremely effective cardio exercise because it burns a lot of calories quickly. Korin Miller of "Cosmopolitan" magazine reports that jumping rope can burn between 15 and 20 calories a minute. A half hour of moderate to fast rope jumping can burn between 450 and 600 calories. In addition to getting a good workout for your heart and lungs, jumping rope helps you cut fat and develop lean muscle, which further aids in slimming the body.
Cycling is a non-weight-bearing activity that's dependent heavily upon the lower extremities. Cycling works to slim the hamstrings, quadriceps, buttocks and calf muscles. Since this exercise works four muscle groups and has a low injury rate, it is considered one of best cardiovascular exercises for weight loss. Dr. Lisa Callahan from the Sports Medical Center in New York City says bicycling helps prevent weight gain and growing waistlines.
A full-body workout, swimming works each major muscle group and is ideal for an overall slimming effect. The arms, core and legs are all used, and the water resistance adds value to the workout by challenging the muscles and respiratory system. Selene Yeager of "Women's Health" magazine states that "No other workout burns calories, boosts metabolism and firms every muscle in your body (without putting stress on your joints) better than a swimming workout."
If you notice regularly that runners have amazing bodies, there is a good reason -- runners are some of the most fit athletes in the world because of the body's use of all major muscles and joints. Like swimming, running is a total-body, aerobic workout. It's also weight-bearing and strengthens the bones and muscles in addition to helping you burn calories. According to MayoClinic.com, a 160-pound person can lose between 606 and 861 calories by running for one hour at speeds of 5 and 8 miles per hour, respectively.
Sabrina Prieur is an expert on education, health, fitness, physical education and sports/athletics. She has a BS in health and physical education, a master's degree in education, and a PhD in leadership with a concentration in sports management and administration. A collegiate professor and athletics administrator, she's taught and coached various sports in the public schools and inner city.