Burning calories through working out is a great way to keep fit and to ensure overall health. While we don't subscribe to calorie counting, it can be helpful to understand and appreciate some of the best exercises to efficiently burn calories to keep your cardiovascular system functioning at a high level. Read on to learn more about how you can burn calories or kilojoules, and the best calorie-burning exercises for you.
Kilojoule (kJ) is the term used by Australia to measure one’s energy received after consuming food or drink. Before 1988, the term Calories (Cal) was used instead (1, 2). The two terms have different measurements:
It is recommended that the average adult takes in an average of 8700 kJ of food a day to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. But those values can vary amongst different people. All foods have kilojoules, be they carbohydrates, protein, fat, or alcohol (1, 2). What people are most concerned about is the intake of excess kilojoules, which results in fat which is stored in your body until it can be used again. The equation is simple, the more fat stored, the more weight you gain (3).
In general, doing activities in which you move a lot more will help burn kilojoules. This doesn’t require a full intense workout. At least 30 minutes of regular exercise is good enough for you to burn a lot of kilojoules. However, it is also a matter of choosing how to lead your life; if you are a couch potato, it helps to get up and do something as small as walking around; or if you go to work, instead of driving, take public transportation instead (4, 5)
The more active you are, the better you’re able to work off excess calories. Here are the best calorie-burning exercises you can do:
Running is one of the fastest calorie-burning exercises you can try. A person who weighs 73 kg running at 8 kilometres per hour over an hour would burn 606 calories or about 2,545 kilojoules (25).
If you can’t run, you can go at a more leisurely pace. Hiking can burn around 438 calories or about 1840 kilojoules. Walking about 5.6 kilometres over an hour is also a good way to lose about 314 calories or 1318 kilojoules (25).
Around 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity within a week can provide great health benefits (25). Low-impact aerobics over an hour can burn about 365 calories or 1533 kilojoules. Aqua Aerobics in the water, which offers more resistance, can help you burn 402 calories or 1688 kilojoules over an hour (25).
Hitting the pool and doing laps for about an hour can help you burn 424 calories or 1780 kilojoules (25).
These include weights and bodyweight exercises.
These kinds of exercises increase lean body mass or your muscles. Having greater lean body mass increases your metabolism (25). Metabolism helps determine how many kilojoules you burn even when you aren't performing physical activities. Even while you rest, or sleep, energy is still needed to repair cells, keep your autonomic functions going, such as breathing, or keep your heart pumping. Having a higher metabolic rate increases how much energy you burn even when you’re not moving (25).
To keep your energy levels up, it’s important to make sure that the food you eat is balanced. This includes getting the appropriate amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, and vitamins (4, 5, 6).
While the best way to get nutrients, minerals, and vitamins is through a healthy diet, we sometimes need supplements to make up for the nutrients we aren’t able to get through food. Here are some of the nutrients you need to help boost your energy, to make burning kilojoules more efficient:
Iron supports energy production in the body (8) by playing a role in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy used by cells.
It also helps in transporting oxygen throughout your body through your bloodstream, as well as in producing myoglobin, the protein responsible for supplying and storing oxygen in your muscles (9, 12).
Iron is found in lamb, fish, beef, pork and chicken. You can also get your iron from iron-fortified foods such as whole grains, and vegetables like broccoli, and beans (9, 10, 11).
Ashwagandha is a herb native to India and Southeast Asia. It is used in traditional medicine for its rejuvenating qualities (13, 14, 15).
Ashwagandha helps relieve stress and fatigue and promotes better sleep, making sure you have the energy you need for exercise.
Magnesium is another nutrient that supports peak energy levels in the body. As an agent for producing ATP, magnesium is also used to produce energy within our bodies (16, 17).
Magnesium can be found within high fibre foods like fruits, whole grains, almonds, and others (18).
This amino acid is used to help produce energy for the body. It plays a role in putting together different fatty acid chains and transporting them into your mitochondria, the part of the cell that produces power. Taking this nutrient also helps support energy levels (19, 20). It can be found in poultry, milk, fish, and meat (20)
This includes the B group of vitamins. By themselves, B vitamins cannot produce energy, but the vitamins play a role in supporting the optimal production of energy for your body (21, 24). B-vitamins can be found in chicken, milk, and various other foods.
Vitamin C is a nutrient that aids the absorption of iron (20, 21). Vitamin C can be found in various fruits, especially citrus fruits.
This vitamin plays a role in fatty acid absorption for energy production (18, 19) You can get Vitamin B12 from cheese, milk, and meat.
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Find out more about areas that specific nutrients and supplements can help you :
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.