Belonging to a gym can give you more than just ripped muscles and an impressive beach body. If you carry a few extra pounds, taking advantage of the gym's exercise equipment is an effective way to burn calories. If you find treadmill workouts a little mundane, change things up by using the ski machine or stationary bike.
Ski machines typically help you mimic the movements of cross-country skiing, which is a physically demanding sport that helps you burn calories quickly. If you weigh 155 pounds and use the ski machine at a general pace -- neither slow nor vigorous -- for 30 minutes, you'll burn about 353 calories, according to Harvard Medical School. If you weigh 185 pounds and use the equipment for a 30-minute workout, expect to burn about 422 calories.
If you enjoyed taking bike rides as a kid, give the stationary bike a shot to rekindle your childhood memories while burning calories at a rapid rate. A 155-pound person who pedals the stationary bike for 30 minutes at a moderate pace will burn 260 calories -- at a vigorous pace, 391 calories. Someone who weighs 185 pounds and pedals moderately or vigorously for a half hour will burn 311 or 466 calories, respectively.
Both types of exercise machine provide a low-impact workout, which is ideal if you have joint issues and using a treadmill causes pain. Because the calorie-burning benefits of the ski machine and stationary bike are similar, consider the added benefits of each machine. If you want to work your arms as you burn calories, the ski machine is equipped with cables or handles for you to pull. If you'd rather read a magazine or use your tablet while working out, the stationary bike keeps your hands free.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Always devote time to stretching before and after your aerobic workout to lessen the chance of injury. Use dynamic stretches to warm up your muscles before working out and static stretches during your cool-down period.
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.