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How to Burn Calories

Updated on July 7, 2009

Just about everything you do burns calories. It's true. You burn calories just sitting still. Your body burns calories while digesting food. You burn calories from chewing gum. But. Yes, there's a but.

You will not burn enough calories to maintain a healthy lifestyle just by relying on these kinds of calorie burners. The most efficient way to burn calories is through cardiovascular exercise. Consistent cardio exercise at a level that challenges you is the best way to burn calories, whether you are trying to maintain your weight or lose weight.

What is a cardio workout?

Cardio exercise is movement that raises your heart rate for a period of time like 20 to 30 minutes, or even longer. During your cardio workout, you should be sweating and breathing hard during the most intense part of your workout.

How do you know your workout is enough cardio?

Stay within your target heart range or use the simple Talk Test to make sure you are working at a good intensity. If your intensity is too easy, then your workout won’t be as effective. On the flip side, you could hurt yourself by working at an intensity that is too hard. What’s the Talk Test? You should be able to comfortably answer a question while exercising. Gasping and too out of breath to get the words out? You are probably overexerting yourself. Are you able to carry on a long discussion without a problem? Probably not exerting yourself enough.

How often should I exercise?

You should aim to work out five or six days a week. But, if you are new to exercising, then go for a minimum of three days a week. Gradually up the intensity of your workouts, and start increasing the frequency.

But don’t forget to give yourself rest days too. Recovery is good for the body (as long as it has something to recover from).

How long should I exercise?

It can range from 20 to 60 minutes, depending on your fitness level. Start out at what is comfortable for you, but don’t hesitate to push yourself a bit further. The more minutes you exercise after those initial 20 minutes, the more calories you are burning.

You don’t have to do your entire workout at once. If you do several mini-workouts throughout the day, you can easily fit 60 minutes in. The minutes add up quickly if you pay attention and plan.

Calorie Burning Exercises

Seriously, just about anything can burn calories, but effective calorie burners are those that get your heart rate up.








Unfortunately, some ineffective calorie burners are:

Sex (I know it sucks...but you can't count it as cardio)


Sitting Around


Strength Training (it is so good for you, and everyone should do it, but it should be done in addition to cardio)

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    • sammythrone profile image


      6 years ago from North America/South America/Europe/Asia

      Hi Stacie,

      Indeed this is super information for people who want to burn calories. There is really no big secret to getting rid of excess calories. Just need to work on it like what you have suggested. Thanks

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      This is great information! I've been adding a lot of cardio to my workout and it really helps with my mood and my weight as well. Great tips here, thanks for sharing this!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Even Yoga can lead to reduced calories, and there are many more advantages associated with Yoga. However, the hub is great, and very informative as well.

    • gachapoz profile image


      7 years ago

      Really informative and well written, i got all the information easily, and it was some good stuff too. Good tips for the exercises, i especially found the "ineffective" and "effective" calorie burning activity differentiation helpful.


    • WeNdYpOoPoO profile image


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley NY

      I like this hub but...I am here to say sex does burn calories my boyfriend and I hit a point of finding each other again and we were umm very sexual I lost 25 lbs my best friend asked me what diet I was on. I was doing nothing different other then an increase in sex.

    • AutumnLockwood profile image


      7 years ago from Northern California

      Well written hub. Thanks for all the information.

    • profile image

      what are calories 

      8 years ago

      Like this hub! Very informative!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice story as for me.

      It would be great to read something more about this matter. Thanks for sharing that information.


    • chrysstil profile image


      8 years ago

      interesting informations.Thanks!

    • profile image

      London Escort Girls 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for share secret of wait loss .

    • qing122 profile image


      8 years ago from

      great hub I like it

    • profile image

      Patrick Collins 

      8 years ago

      thanks for sharing that , great hub . I can use this info

    • fits4life profile image

      Cherri Brown-Jett 

      8 years ago from Richmond

      If everyone would read this hub, it would cut down tremendously on obesity. There are so many ways to maintain good health that are natural. People don't realize it because they are looking for some miracle pill to do it, instead of doing it themselves and naturally. Thank you for sharing this hub.

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image


      8 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Great info about burning calories. I always knew to exercise to loose weight, but few realize why.

    • bwlprogram profile image


      8 years ago

      And here I thought strength training is one of the best cardio workout ever. However, I agree and disagree with your strength training fact.

      For me, sleeping is a good cardio workout as well. The only thing is we don't have to this too much by oversleeping.

    • Hendrika profile image


      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      As far as the sex things goes I suppose it all depends! Thanks for the good info

    • joncento profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      Biking at the gym does it for me - plus I get to watch the news/sport while I do it! Love doing cardio!

    • garcilazoand profile image


      8 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Great stuff! really enjoyed it.

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image


      8 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Thanks for the great info. Nice hub. I knew a little bit about burning calories, but this is great!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Stacie Naczelnik, Great informative Hub on burning calories! Thank you for the most helpful tips, Blessings!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      this is a relly great hub. This is really nice information that you are sharing. Have you tried to suppliment the exercise with Acai Berry Suppliments, believe me when I tell you you loose weight even faster. The Acai Berry Suppliment is purely natural and can be an excellent weight loss aid if combined with exercise and diet since it contains omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids are found in fish oil and have been discovered over time to be good for you. These fatty acids are not stored in the body, instead it is used by the liver to kick start the body's mechanism and speed it up greatly. This enables the body to burn up calories hence losing weight.

    • lewgard profile image

      Kathleen Lewis 

      8 years ago from Southern Michigan

      My husband laughs at me when I tell him cleaning the house burns calories. While true, it doesn't get my heart rate up high enough to be a weight-sustaining and/or losing exercise. I love to go for brisk, 30 minute walks. If the weather is bad, I use my treadmill.

      Several years ago I read that load-bearing exercises help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Yet another reason to burn some calories.

    • jenniferhughs profile image


      8 years ago

      If I don't have time for cardio I atleast do some sqats and ab crunches...just so i do SOME exercise everyday.

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile imageAUTHOR

      Stacie Naczelnik 

      8 years ago from Seattle

      Thanks to everyone for all of the great comments! Just to clarify, I never said that weight training does not burn calories. However, just weight training alone will not be enough for beginners learning about how to effectively burn calories. Weight training is hugely important for overall health, and I think everyone should incorporate a strength training routine into their regular exercise schedules.

    • Carl "Fitness" profile image

      Carl "Fitness" 

      8 years ago from Boston, MA

      Great Hub - thanks for writing it. Bummer about sex. But regarding weight training, I agree with some of the other comments. Weight training is actually great for burning calories, because the extra muscle actually burns calories even while you are at rest!

    • Sage Knowles profile image

      Sage Knowles 

      8 years ago

      the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest, so its still very valuable to lift weights if your goal is weight loss and calorie burn

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      8 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      thanks for sharing this exercise information. nice lens.

    • martycraigs profile image


      8 years ago

      Lifting weights is a great way to burn calories and each pound of muscle will help burn more calories.

    • jacksongoh profile image


      8 years ago from Singapore

      Great hub there Stacie, a very good reference point for all us exercise freaks out there :-)

    • profile image

      Free God Of War 

      8 years ago

      Very nice tips! But I have to disagree when you say sex is an ineffective way to burn calories... It all depends on how you do it! :)

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 

      8 years ago

      Great hub, for the last month my wife and I have been doing our morning exercise together, she does the eliptical while I do the treadmill. I have had knee replacements and the eliptical isn't a recommeded device for me,even though one burns more calories using this machine. Still after only a month she has lost 14 pounds and so have I. Great hub.

      Robert Ballard

    • alman121 profile image


      9 years ago

      if you want to lose calories start trading on Forex:)

      I lost 10kg. in month

    • ediddy5 profile image


      9 years ago

      Basketbal is the ultimate workout. Anyone up for a 1 0n 1?

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      9 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Very good hub on burning calories, thanks for sharing. Creativeone59

    • Leop profile image


      9 years ago

      Very informative about burnig calories. Well written.I am going to try a few of this exercise. Thanks for tip.

    • Cheri Schultz profile image

      Cheri Schultz 

      9 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the tips - I am all about exercising and healthy living.

    • StevenCavendish profile image


      9 years ago

      This is a great hub with a lot of helpful tips about burning calories. Thanks for sharing Stacie.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very well written. Thanks!

    • Jose Aliaga profile image

      Jose Aliaga 

      9 years ago from PERU-USA

      I love to run, I think is the best way to keep a good body !!

      I respect others methods as well, but I prefer to run for like 1 hour per day. =)

    • anjalichugh profile image


      9 years ago from New York

      Excellent hub Stacie! Very simply put and so right. I would like to add just one thing here. I read somewhere that if you change your work out plan after every two weeks, you tend to shed off weight easily. It's kind of confusing the body and forcing it lose extra pounds. I don't know how far that works. Good work.

    • christophallen profile image


      9 years ago

      Great Hub! We make this weight loss stuff way too complicated these days and I love how you keep it simple.

    • profile image


      9 years ago from Providence, RI

      Great hub! Maybe it will motivate me to get started.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      9 years ago

      Stacie Naczelnik,

      Great Hub! Thank you for some very helpful calorie burning tips!


    • juicerlove profile image


      9 years ago

      Another good way to get a workout, even if you're busy, is to simply walk longer routes on your way to places, or take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators and such. That alone is a good way to get exercise

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      its really nice information to be shared

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      its reall great weight loss information

    • hgsouth profile image


      9 years ago

      Burning calories is all about duration...if you can do something for a long period of time, that's the best.

    • articleposter profile image


      9 years ago

      Very good hub, not that I need to burn Calories, stil la good read :D

    • johnnyfr profile image


      9 years ago from Ormskirk, Lancashire

      Nice advice - thanks.

    • redchic78 profile image


      9 years ago from

      I am working on a weight problem of my own and I appreciate all the advice you have here!!!

    • kasauli profile image


      9 years ago from Delhi, India

      Everybody thinks that he/she is very busy so cannot spare time for even exercise.

      A simpler way to cut down calories might encourage them to pay little attention towards their beautiful body and enjoy healthy living.

      Your article is very encouraging.

    • profile image

      Robert Ballard 

      9 years ago

      Great hub and some great tips on burning calories.

      Robert Elias Ballard

    • atulmoney profile image


      9 years ago from Ranchi-Jharkhand, India

      hv started - early stage - would follow all tips thnx

    • lilislist profile image


      9 years ago from New York, NY

      Love it! :D I will def. forward this to my friends :)

    • pt21 profile image


      9 years ago from Birmingham

      this is an interesting debate across the board, in essence any exercise that works the cardiovascular system can count as cardio surely so I would include strength training in there for sure, mainly because of the after burn factor of increased lean muscle tissue. It is also worth considering that humans did not evolve to be low slow runners, we were hunters, muscular and required to sprint across shorter bursts.

    • Cameron Dinsdale profile image

      Cameron Dinsdale 

      9 years ago

      Have you ever heard about the study that has shown if you reduce your caloric intake by thirty percent you can live for another ten to fifteen years?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Burning calories is quite important for our health. Learnt a lot about intake of less calorie foods. The hub is very informative. Nice hub.

    • Vizey profile image


      9 years ago

      I think we should pay attention to our calorie intake rather than buring calories. when we eat less, we put on less weight. simple common sense.

    • profile image

      Sweet Blitz 

      9 years ago

      Great info - always looking for tips on diet and exercise

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      very nice tips .... keep it up ....

    • kenderso profile image

      Kreg Enderson 

      9 years ago from Phoenix

      Another great article. Makes it seem a little easier to be successful.

    • healthgoji profile image


      9 years ago

      Good source of info - some form of resistance exercise is important to building muscle as lean muscle will affect how many calories your body burns at rest.

    • Love Marmalade profile image

      Love Marmalade 

      9 years ago from Manchester

      great Hub, im often holding conversations while tredmilling it up...maybe i need to go faster!?

    • Sexy jonty profile image

      Sexy jonty 

      9 years ago from India

      Wow .... one of the best hubs ....

      Great work ....

      great help .....

    • profile image

      Eat Smart Age Smart 

      9 years ago

      Water is really important for our bodies and for weight loss. The body works to absorb and use water and it’s burning calories the whole time that you do that. Apart from regular exercise, you should increase your liquid intake to help burn calories throughout the day.

    • mailxpress profile image

      Michelle Cesare 

      9 years ago from New York

      I do enjoy reading Hubs created by Hubbers. I like the fact that most Hubbers have useful information to share. Raising Cardio rate is a main key to burning calories. Interesting reading, thanks.


    • Samantha Goodman profile image

      Samantha Goodman 

      9 years ago from Australia

      Good advice Stacie!

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile imageAUTHOR

      Stacie Naczelnik 

      9 years ago from Seattle

      Yes! Hula-hooping is a great form of cardio activity! It's not just for kids anymore.

    • michelle.dragon99 profile image


      9 years ago

      cool hub stacie.....but i want to recommend another very effective way for burn calories, which im practicing it now everyday, already 3 years, for maintaining my body figure....guest what...yeah... 20 minutes hula-hoop in a day :)

    • swathin2 profile image


      9 years ago

      hello great your hub reached 100 help other one too so that they will also become popular like you

    • vshining profile image


      9 years ago from Ellenwood GA

      Excellent hub.....totally enjoyed. Thank you. Kangen water has been known to assist in weight loss.

    • Dairyman profile image


      9 years ago

      Although the thumbrule says that weight gain is the difference between calorie taken in and that burnt out, there are more intricacies involved in the metabolism. Maintaining a healthy life style and doing regular exercise will keep the unwanted fat at bay.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is a very useful piece of knowledge about practical fat burning.

    • pkoko profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you very much for your hub :)

      keep it up!

    • profile image

      Useful Knowledge 

      9 years ago

      Very well written hub. This is great advice on staying fit. Keep up the great work!

    • dohn121 profile image


      9 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Reading all of this reminds me just how out of shape I am! I gotta get back to mountain biking again. The reason why I like it so much is because it is deceptively high cardio once you're get into the pace of peddling non-stop, plus it's low impact on your knees unlike running or jogging. Great hub stacie!

    • unclesam profile image


      9 years ago from India

      nice hub,simple and great..!!

    • Stickyfoot profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm a big fan of my new Wii Fit... to make it an actual cardio workout I need to walk in place between the games. Great article!

    • Eric Bryan profile image

      Eric Bryan 

      9 years ago

      It's good to see a short, simple, clear, concise, helpful, hard-hitting article written in short, declarative sentences.

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 

      9 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      A good reminder!

    • Gin Delloway profile image

      Gin Delloway 

      9 years ago

      nice hub! I like it!!

    • Life Force World profile image

      Life Force World 

      9 years ago from Missouri

      Love it!

    • Barbara Yurkoski profile image

      Barbara Yurkoski 

      9 years ago

      Nice succinct hub. Just the facts - deal with them. I like it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago from earth

      great hub

    • best of the web profile image

      best of the web 

      9 years ago from US

      Nice post

    • my-success-guru profile image


      9 years ago from Upstate NY

      Hi again Stacie,

      If you are interested I have a similar Hub called

      20 Minute Peak Point Aerobic Factor

      To Your Health Wealth and Happiness!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      As a collegiate athlete, the only cardio our summer workouts include is running. The best way to burn calories would be for you is to run as hard as you can for as far as you can until you can't run any farther. Eventually this will lead to you running further and faster each time. It takes a lot of time, but it can be very worthwhile if you do this on a routine and you create goals for yourself.

    • mwaky profile image


      9 years ago

      nice hub!

    • Rudra profile image


      9 years ago

      walking and running are one the best ways for sure.

    • my-success-guru profile image


      9 years ago from Upstate NY

      I think I should try this out!

    • CJoseph profile image


      9 years ago from Oregon

      Good tips and I make use of doing little mini exercise routines throughout the the day!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      you can add dancing also

    • lovemyself profile image


      9 years ago

      A good idea.

      I think drinking tea could lose weight too.

    • creativeMind profile image


      9 years ago from Cochin

      fasting is good option..

    • ajm5050 profile image


      9 years ago from NY

      Great read, thanks for all the helpful information.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Kapalbhati Pranayam is one way, if I may add. Good one.

    • Kmadhav profile image


      9 years ago from New delhi

      just a great hub...........

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for your information

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • Garrett McLee profile image

      Garrett McLee 

      9 years ago from Florida

      These are excellent tips, I have a similar process I use every morning before I head off to work.


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