When a doctor or personal trainer recommends doing more cardio to lose weight, what they’re really talking about is exercise that affects your cardiovascular system. This involves doing aerobic exercise that’s intended to increase your heart rate and rate of breathing. It’s also designed to work out your larger muscle groups in the legs or chest, so cardio exercises can include walking, running, cycling, or swimming. Understanding how cardio workouts will affect your metabolism will help you understand how much you need to do to lose weight.

What Other Factors are Involved in Burning Calories?

The first thing you should understand is that losing weight requires burning more calories than you’re consuming. To achieve this goal, you’ll have to pay closer attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re eating each day. Keeping the intake of calories low will help you lose weight faster.

However, you do need to take in some calories every day, so fasting is not the answer either. Ideally, a plant-based diet that consists primarily of fresh fruit, vegetables, seeds, and nuts will help you lose up to two pounds each week. This is a healthy pattern to follow.

How Well Does Cardio Burn Calories?

Once you’re eating a healthy diet, you can begin using cardio workouts to burn calories. There’s still no easy answer to how many calories you can burn, since a variety of factors affect your metabolism. For example, men burn calories faster than women, younger people lose weight faster than older adults, and people with higher body fat burn more calories than those who are not overweight or obese.

In looking at the numbers, you will need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of body fat. You can increase how quickly you burn those calories by adding resistance training to your workout. As you build muscle, those muscles will also burn calories even in a resting state.

Looking at specific exercises, running and bicycling are the best for burning calories. If you’re running at least 5 mph or bicycling faster than 10 mph, you should be burning an average of 295 calories per half hour. At the other end of the spectrum is running, which can burn up to 140 calories per half hour.

Since the calories you burn each day are cumulative and will help you lose up to two pounds per week, it’s easy to see why your diet plays a key role. If you’re working out for at least 30 minutes per day and not seeing results, it may be necessary to take a harder look at your diet. Making lifestyle changes won’t be easy, but they will help you shed those unwanted pounds.