Weight loss is achieved when your caloric intake is less than your caloric expenditure. One pound of body weight equals 3,500 calories. You burn calories when you engage in everyday activities such as weeding the garden, washing the dishes or walking the dog. To burn calories and lose weight more quickly though, you'll need to increase the number of calories you burn within that 24-hour period. Yoga isn't the most efficient way to do that. The best way to burn calories is through aerobic exercise, and a gym is the perfect place to select from a wide array of activities. There's bound to be at least one that will suit your needs.
Hatha yoga is a system of exercise that emphasizes physical health through the synchronization of held postures and breath. Regular yoga practice can build muscular strength, increase flexibility and balance, improve posture and facilitate a sense of well-being. You will burn calories doing yoga, but not as rapidly as you would doing aerobic exercise. A 155-pound person burns about 150 calories during 30 minutes of yoga. The same person will burn twice that number of calories playing basketball, swimming or exercising on an elliptical trainer or rowing machine for the same amount of time.
Gym Fitness Classes
If you like the camaraderie of a fitness class, most gyms will have something for you. Classes such as belly dancing, spinning and water aerobics are effective and efficient ways to burn calories and work off excess weight. A 155-pound person will burn about 150 calories doing water aerobics for 30 minutes. The same person will burn 260 calories doing high-impact step aerobics for the same amount of time.
If sports suit you, visit a gym that offers court activities or swimming. The average 155-pound adult will burn 260 calories during 30 minutes of tennis or racquetball, close to 300 playing basketball and 372 calories swimming laps at a vigorous pace. If you're motivated by friendly competition, find out if your gym has teams or leagues that you can join.
The beauty of having access to a gym is the selection of cardio equipment that you're likely to find. Stair climbers, ellipticals, rowing machines, treadmills and stationary bikes are probably the most efficient use of your time and the most accurate way to calculate your caloric expenditure rate. These machines factor in your age, weight, speed and resistance to let you know how many calories you've burned during your time spent using that machine.
Aline Lindemann is a health, food and travel writer. She has also worked as a social worker, preschool teacher and art educator. Lindemann holds a Master of Liberal Studies in culture, health and creative nonfiction writing from Arizona State University.