Cardio Helps You Burn Calories and Body Fat

One of the most popular types of exercise for weight loss is aerobic exercise, also known as cardio. Examples include walking, running, cycling and swimming.

Aerobic exercise doesn’t have a major effect on your muscle mass, at least not compared to weight lifting. However, it is very effective at burning calories.

A recent 10-month study examined how cardio affected 141 obese or overweight people. They were split into three groups and not told to reduce calorie intake.

  • Group 1: Burn 400 calories doing cardio, 5 days a week
  • Group 2: Burn 600 calories doing cardio, 5 days a week
  • Group 3: No exercise

Group 1 participants lost 4.3% of their body weight, while those in group 2 lost a little more at 5.7%. The control group, which didn’t exercise, actually gained 0.5%.

Other studies also show cardio can help you burn fat, especially the dangerous belly fat that increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Therefore, adding cardio to your lifestyle is likely to help you manage your weight and improve your metabolic health. Just don’t compensate for the exercise by eating more calories instead.

BOTTOM LINE: Doing aerobic exercise regularly can increase the number of calories you burn and help you lose body fat.

Lifting Weights Helps You Burn More Calories Around the Clock

All physical activity can help you burn calories.

However, resistance training — such as weight lifting — has benefits that go beyond that.

Resistance training helps increase the strength, tone and amount of muscle you have.

This is important for long-term health, since inactive adults lose between 3–8% of their muscle mass per decade