Exercise will help you burn fat and tone your muscles, but not all types of exercises do so at the same rate. Cardiovascular exercise will help you drop weight more quickly, while strength-training exercises are better for toning and improving muscle mass.The American Council of Sports Medicine states that bursts of activity from conditioning programs including Pilates and yoga are also helpful for toning. A combination of exercises for calorie burn and muscle tone will help improve your overall health and wellness.
Strength training, or toning exercises help build and strengthen muscles, and improve bone and ligament health. When combined with cardiovascular, or calorie-burning exercise, your routine can help improve mental and emotional health. Toning exercises may help you avoid physical diseases and chronic health symptoms when performed regularly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends performing strength training exercises two or more days each week focusing on major muscle groups including the legs, hips, abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms and back.
The CDC recommends performing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, or 75 minutes at a vigorous intensity. Vigorous activity can be done by jogging or running, while moderate activity can be done with brisk walking. Cardiovascular activities will burn a higher number of calories than strength training; you can't lose weight without calorie burn. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn while performing an exercise.
Pilates and yoga are examples of conditioning programs. Other programs that can be done include kickboxing, karate, Taekwondo. All of these activities tone the body through a combination of strength training, balance and short bursts of activity. These classes often engage the core muscles and incorporate the use of speed and stability for improving muscle work and enhancing overall body tone, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
The ACSM suggests participating in combo sports, including soccer, swimming, and cycling to reap the benefits of a cardiovascular workout to burn fat. It's also recommended to perform a strength-training or conditioning workout to on the muscles. Group sports like these not only burn fat and tone, but also help with motivation because they involve a fun group atmosphere. Because of this, you will be more likely to reap lifelong benefits and stay healthy.
Athena Berger, founder of Best Communications, has been writing fitness and health articles since 2002. Her areas of expertise include therapy, mind body and exercise. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Her writing has appeared in many health and corporate publications including "Fitness."