Whether you hope to shed a few pounds for an upcoming job interview, a beach vacation or just to look and feel better when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, an aerobic activity is just the ticket. When considering the type of exercise to adopt, pick the one that will help you burn calories the quickest.
When people say a particular exercise helps you lose weight, they actually mean the exercise will burn calories, which will eventually lead to weight loss. Losing a single pound means you'll need to burn 3,500 calories, which will likely require several days of working out. Remember that you consume calories through food and drink, so you need to burn 3,500 calories beyond what you consume to drop a pound of fat.
Get warmed up, tune the TV to your favorite channel or press "Play" on your MP3 player; the longer you run on the treadmill, the more calories you'll be able to burn. The calorie-burning benefits of running, and thus the pace at which you can expect to lose weight, depend on such factors as your weight and the speed and length of your workout. If you weigh 180 pounds and run at a pace of just 6 miles per hour for 60 minutes, you'll burn 817 calories on the treadmill. If you're able to maintain a faster pace of 8 miles per hour, you'll burn 1,103 calories.
As with running, you'll burn more calories pedaling a stationary bike if you can sustain a long, intense workout. Someone who weighs 180 pounds and rides the bike for an hour at a moderate pace will burn 572 calories, but if that person is able to increase her speed to a vigorous rate, she'll burn 858 calories in 60 minutes.
If you're trying to juggle a treadmill workout versus a stationary bike workout in order to lose weight, consider that running on a treadmill will help you burn calories slightly faster than riding a bike, although the former is often more challenging. If you don't feel you'd be able to run for more than a few minutes, or have sore leg joints, the stationary bike might be more suitable for you. To keep your workout routines from becoming boring, try alternating both types of exercise.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.