8 Ways to Burn Calories and Fight Fat
These healthy habits may help give your body a calorie-burning boost.
For years, products have been marketed with the promise of helping you burn
more calories. But is there really anything you can do to increase the number
of calories your body burns each day?
Well, yes and no, experts say. The truth seems to be that the No. 1 way to
burn more calories is the old-fashioned way -- by moving more.
"Essentially, we know of no way to burn more calories or up our
metabolism than to move more," says Barry M. Popkin, PhD, director of
Obesity Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Still, research suggests that there may be a few other ways you can increase
calorie burn. Here are eight possible ways to burn more calories and fight
1. Exercise to Burn Calories
Christopher Wharton, PhD, a certified personal trainer and researcher with
the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, put it simply:
"The more time spent exercising and the more vigorous the
exercise, the more calories will be burned."
Indeed, obesity expert George Bray, MD, with the Pennington Biomedical
Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., believes that taking a brisk walk every
day is probably the single most important piece of advice for anyone wanting to
burn more calories.
Obviously, when you exercise, your body burns calories to fuel your
activity. But exercise is the gift that keeps on giving. That's because even
after your workout has ended, your body is still burning more calories.
While it's hard to pinpoint just how long this effect lasts (it varies
depending on body composition and level of training), "itâs safe to say
metabolic rate can be elevated with aerobic exercise for at least 24
hours," says Wharton.
If you want to prolong this calorie-burning effect, Wharton advises
exercising for longer periods.
"Studies have shown that with increases in exercise time, the elevation
in resting metabolic rate is prolonged," he says.
2. Do Strength Training to Build Muscle
When you exercise, you use muscle. This helps build muscle mass, and muscle
tissue burns more calories -- even when you're at rest -- than body fat.
According to Wharton, 10 pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories in a day spent
at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn 20 calories.
"The most effective way to increase metabolism and burn more calories is
by aerobic exercise and strength
training. Both are important," Megan
A. McCrory, PhD, a researcher with the School of Nutrition and Exercise
Science at Bastyr University, says in an email interview.
Strength training becomes especially important as we get older, when our
metabolisms tend to slow down. One way to stop this is to add some strength
training to your workout at least a couple of times a week. The largest muscles
(and therefore the largest calorie burners) are in the thighs, abdomen, chest,