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what is the most effective cardio?

I am someone who hates the gym and working out...I walk all of the time and take the stairs whenever I can but I feel like I need to boost my weightloss with some more cardio. what is the most effective and highest calorie burning activity for the least time? ( god I sound lazy haha) I was thinking of trying to start running in the park but is jumping rope or doing jumping jacks just as effective?

Sat. Dec 17, 12:52am

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If you can't get to the gym, walking is incredibly effective. Just make sure you are walking at a FAST pace, and if you can incorporate some uphills, so much the better. If you can go to the gym, try the elliptical machine. That burns some serious calories: a 20- or 30-minute workout will earn you a lot of progress.

Saturday, December 17, 2005, 1:24 AM

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Running is generally considered to be the most efficient way to burn calories as it uses the largest muscles to the greatest extent in the shortest period of time. The drawback is that it can be hard on the joints.

I personally consider cycling to be the best cardio exercise for me. I can ride a bike for hours at a time, burning nominally 500 calories per hour. The major drawback is that cycling outdoors is limited to the warmer months in most parts of the U.S. for all but the most devoted cyclists. Cycling can also be a bit pricey compared to other forms of exercise.

As a suggestion, you might consider finding several exercise options that you enjoy and that you can do under various conditions of weather, temperature, season, etc. This will also be much easier on the body than doing primarily only one activity.

The link will take you to a "Calories Burned Per Hour" calculator where you can determine the approximate calories you would burn for various exercises. This might make it easeir for you to decide what exercise(s) you would prefer to do.



Saturday, December 17, 2005, 11:20 AM

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I've also heard that running is the most efficient cardio.
Personally, my knees just wont take it, so I use the elliptical trainers. I have read that they are a good alternative for people who can't run. I turn up the resistance on it so I can feel my muscles working, but it keeps my knees happy and burns calories quickly.

Saturday, December 17, 2005, 2:06 PM

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The Slide Board

The slide board is an incredibly fast way to get your heart rate up. In less than a minute you are at maximum heart rate and can easily keep it there are long as you want with a minimum of effort. And most of all, it's SO MUCH FUN!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005, 3:09 PM

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The NY Times ran an article on this a couple of months ago. It's now in the archives, so I've posted an excerpt here:

Physical Culture; Best In Gym
Published: November 24, 2005

WALK into most gyms, and it is obvious which cardio machines are the favorites. Quite often rows of treadmills are parked on prime real estate in front of the televisions. Close by, stationary bikes also crowd the floor. And rightly so: these are the two most popular machines for a cardiovascular workout at health clubs. Lately their dominance has been challenged by a newcomer, the elliptical motion trainer, a machine that aims to replicate running without the stress on joints.

But of all the machines at health clubs, which one is really the best, the latest fads aside? Stair climbers, which were a huge hit in the early 1990's, are used by scarcely more than half as many exercisers today, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Does that mean they are no longer effective?

These questions are particularly apropos today, when many feasts of turkey and trimmings will add up to 3,000 calories, according to the American Council on Exercise. Leaving aside New Year's Day and its compulsory rituals of atonement, perhaps no other moment illustrates the uphill battle for fitness than Thanksgiving. Even the most dedicated exerciser is unlikely to run the four hours it would take a 160-pound person to burn off such a heavy meal.

Once folks do get around to working off the pumpkin pie and Zinfandel, which machine at the gym will help the pounds come off quickest? Which will do it without undue joint stress? And which will best condition the heart?

To help gymgoers make an informed choice at the unofficial start of the indoor exercise season, Thursday Styles asked 10 experts -- physiologists, researchers, doctors and personal trainers -- to rate the five most popular cardio machines according to these three criteria plus two others: the overall muscle conditioning they offer; and how tedious regular workouts feel, or what we dubbed the ''monotony factor.''

The experts not only chose a winner among the treadmill, stationary bicycle, stair climber, elliptical trainer and rowing machine, they also offered advice on how to get the most out of the equipment.

The winner, by a solid margin, is the elliptical trainer. Our 10 experts thought it had many virtues, chiefly that it allows a low-impact, high-energy workout that is fun. Used correctly, an elliptical trainer works the muscles of the central core as well as the lower body, although some experts think research is needed to determine how hard a workout its users really get.

''These devices are not always effective in providing much resistance to movement,'' said Edward F. Coyle, the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. ''People seem to be able to move effortlessly.''

But for the most part the panel of experts felt that the elliptical was the best all-around choice.

The rowing machine, which has plummeted in popularity in the last 15 years, ranked a surprising second in our survey, tied with the treadmill.

Several panelists argued that rowing machines are highly underrated; when used properly they offer a thorough workout of the major muscle groups, including the back, hips, arms and legs. But despite its advantages, rowing machines demand an intensity of effort that many exercisers find too challenging.

Whatever machine might become the next big thing, the experts cautioned that no one of them is right for everyone at all times. Instead, gymgoers should rotate among machines at least once a week. Cross-training, as this is called, addresses a variety of muscles and will help to avoid injuries from overuse.

''People are always asking me, 'What is the best exercise?' '' said Dr. Paul D. Thompson, a cardiologist at Hartford Hospital. ''My answer always is, 'What do you enjoy doing?' ''

The best exercise machine, the experts agreed, is the one that gets you moving each day.

Devising the Ratings

Thursday Styles asked 10 fitness experts to give five gym machines ratings of 1 to 10 in five categories, with 10 being the highest score. (A high score in wear and tear means the machine is relatively easy on joints and tendons, and a high score in monotony factor means the machine is not all that boring.)

The experts' scores were computed for each machine. The overall rankings reflect the total of all scores.


Saturday, December 17, 2005, 4:09 PM

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