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Easy Scientific Exercises For Best Fat Burning In the Total Body

Updated on December 27, 2015
Stretching at sunrise can increase your metabolism for several hours.
Stretching at sunrise can increase your metabolism for several hours.

Introduction - Which Exercises Do I Need?

In order to control the mass and percentage of body fat one maintains, along with the blood levels of fat and the cholesterol that surrounds every fat cell, exercise in important. However, exercise alone will not control fat, because a cocktail of a reasonable exercise plan, good nutrition, stress management, proper breathing, and an adequate amount of sleep nightly all go into the mix for effective fat control and good health.

No single element of the above mentioned group of vital components will work alone for very long. Uncontrolled stress and lack of asleep by themselves or in combination can directly increase fat storage, because they signal the body that it is in danger, much as if it were approaching a time of famine or a long, cold winter with scarce food supplies.

In addition to the list of interacting components mentioned above for fat control and well-being, no single exercise by itself will be effective long-term in fat control for most people. No single exercise can actually "spot reduce" the "fat" areas of one's body in a manner similar to liposuction without surgery. Fat control and reduction when necessary, require a set of different types of exercises.

Cross Country Skiing
Cross Country Skiing | Source

How Much Fat?

Considering fat itself, fat is not bad by itself. One's body needs fat. An overabundance of fat - more than one's body can use - that is a problem. Some individuals become nearly obsessed with reducing body fat percentages to the point that their behaviors become compulsive in exercising, restricting calories (especially fats), etc.

Some people take the notion to see just how far they can reduce their body fat percentages and some of these even believe that they are better than other individuals that have higher body fat percentages.

Eating orders are another bane to good health and some begin innocently in "going on a diet", while others have strong emotional/psychological roots. The point is to not over-focus on fat reduction, especially "spot reduction", which is usually not effective.

Rowing | Source

In training children, adults, and the elderly in exercise and movement arts for some time, I have found that even stretching can be effective in fat burning. My stretching classes of an hour, twice weekly, have resulted in weight loss of one pound to one-and-a-quarter pounds per person over the course of 10 weeks. Stretching is required before and after weightlifting and aerobic workouts, but it offers the extra benefit itself of helping to burn additional fat.

Deep breathing regularly is also important, because just like wood for a fire - fat cannot burn without enough oxygen. The series of exercises i recommend for a workout that will burn fat as well as produce other good results is:

  • Breathing Exercises
  • Stretching
  • Weight Training
  • Aerobics for at least 12 Minutes
  • Cool Down Stretching and Breathing Exercises.

Jogging | Source

Types of the Most Effective Exercise

Breathing Exercises

While there are links and information about breathing exercises farther along in this presentation, I use a simple set designed to gradually increase lung capacity and the oxygen supply to the body.

Sit on a mat or the floor with legs crossed comfortably with palms of your hands on your knees.

  • Close your eyes.
  • Breathe in through the nose slowly to the count of 3. Exhale slowly through the mouth to the count of 3.
  • Inhale through the nose slowly to the count of 5. Exhale slowly through the mouth to the count of 5.
  • Inhale through the nose slowly to the count of 10. Exhale slowly through the mouth to the count of 10.
  • Repeat the breathing process increasing the count by 3 or 5 each time until you eventually reach 20. Continue to train your lungs until you can reach 30. So not rush the counting, as this may take many months.
  • For each session, at the longest count you can accomplish, repeat that breathing count 5 times. For example, if you can extend the count to 15, then repeat inhaling and exhaling to the count of 15, 5 more times.
  • Finally, open your eyes, take one deep breath and release it with your eyes open, and rise slowly. This is useful to ensuere that one does not pass out by rising to quickly.

Martial Arts
Martial Arts | Source
Stationary Bicycle
Stationary Bicycle

Additional Exercises

Exercise is physical movement that conditions a part of the human body, including the brain and the mind. Successful exercise is well planned, structured, and repetitive in nature for short-term benefits and long-term health maintenance. All exercise can burn fat to a certain extent.

Exercise improves physical and mental health, can help maintain physical and mental fitness, increase social skills, and facilitate physical and mental rehabilitation. It can prevent and treat many physical/mental illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, a wide range of joint and muscle problems, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and substance/alcohol abuse. While doing so, it decreases fat storage by burning fat as fuel. Effective exercise improves health, builds physical/mental endurance, and delays the symptoms of aging (Yu, et al. 2006; Keller, 2007).

Preparation and Follow-up

Before beginning an exercise program, visit a physician for a health evaluation and exercise recommendations. A physical exam will determine whether strenuous exercise will benefit or harm you and the doctor will formulate an individualized exercise program. You may also see a personal trainer if you are using such a professional. If you have any problem or discomfort with your exercises, consult a professional.

Stretching and cool down

Stretching before exercise and cooling down after exercise are crucial. Correct stretching helps prevent soft tissue injuries. Stretching instructions are available at your physician's or personal trainer's office. Proper cool down procedures reduce the painful muscle spasms and cramping, allow the heart rate to return to normal rates, and eliminate the buildup of lactic acid from the muscles.

Strength training

Strength training increases muscle strength by straining a muscle further than average, in what is known as muscle load. This increased workload stimulates muscle protein growth at the cellular level to facilitate muscle contraction. Strength training comprises exercise that increases muscle mass and strength, bone strength, and metabolism. It helps to maintain proper body weight, body image, and self-esteem (George, et al., 2004; Yu, et al., 2006; Keller, 2007; Kim and Kravitz, 2007; Sander, 2007). Exercise includes strength training via isometrics, isotonics, and isokinetics, along with range of motion (Keller, 2007; The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 2007.)

Stretching & Calesthenics
Stretching & Calesthenics | Source

Flexibility and Range of Motion

Range of motion exercise is movement that improves joint motion. It depends on the configuration of bone surfaces within a joint, the joint capsule, and the ligaments, muscles, and tendons that exert force on the joint. Accidental trauma, surgery, and immobilization or stiffness such as that of arthritis or paralysis can reduce the normal range of motion of a joint, sometimes drastically. Sometimes all movement is lost.

Range of motion exercise includes passive assist, active range of motion, and active assist to improve muscle strength and body flexibility. Passive assist is the movement applied to a joint entirely by another person or passive-motion exercise machine. During passive assist, the joint receiving exercise is completely relaxed and the force applied from outside the body takes an arm or leg completely through the range of movement available to the joints. The joint is not overworked or over stretched. Active range of motion is performed entirely by the person doing the exercise. In contrast, active assist is a joint receiving some help from an outside force. Active assist worked for quadriplegic actor Christopher Reeve, wherein he was given passive assist until he was able to provide part of the effort himself and moved to active assist. He was able to walk underwater in a pool with considerable help from outside force.


Isometric exercises contract the muscles, while the joints do not move. Muscle fibers maintain a constant length throughout the time and extent of contraction. An example of this is doing standing pushups against a concrete wall. The muscles of the arm are contracting but the wall is not moving because of the physical effort. Isometrics develop total strength of a muscle group or chosen muscle.


Isotonic refers to exercises that involve weight lifting as resistance training. Isotonic exercise requires joints to move during muscle contraction. As weights such as dumbbells or a barbell are lifted through the range of motion of the joints, the associated muscles shorten and lengthen.

Calisthenics are isotonic as well, involving pushups, pull-ups, chin-ups, crunches, and others that use one's own body weight as a force for resistance training. Another form of isotonic is movement used against the force of elastic or rubberized exercise bands.


Isokinetic exercise is different, because it allows a maximum muscle contraction to occur completely throughout the entire range of motion available to a joint. Isokinetics uses exercise machines to control the speed of muscle contraction. This combines the best of isometrics and weight training. An isokinetic stationary bicycle, for example, set to 60 revolutions per minute will not allow the user to pedal any faster than 60 revolutions per minute.

Cardiac Conditioning

Exercise facilitates the conditioning or reconditioning of heart muscles and improves or prevents cardiac disease in other individuals. The dominant benefit is that muscles improve the efficiency of oxygen use to reduce the amount of blood it needs to pump.

The resultant increased fitness from cardiac conditioning reduces the workload on the heart, leading to increased endurance. Endurance exercise or aerobics like running, speed walking, bicycling, or swimming increase both the strength and efficiency of heart muscles and can burn fat more rapidly than some other exercises.


  • George, Steven Z., Joel E. Bialosky, and Julie M. Fritz. Physical therapist management of a patient with acute low back pain and elevated fear-avoidance beliefs. Physical Therapy. June 2004: 538(12).
  • Keller, Joy. U.S. to introduce new physical activity guidelines: IDEA members share their visions for what the recommendations should include. IDEA Fitness Journal. Jan 2007: 16(1).
  • Kim, Doyeon, and Len Kravitz. Childhood obesity: prevalence, treatment and prevention: become an advocate for kids by taking a leadership role in the war on obesity. IDEA Fitness Journal. Jan 2007: 22(3).
  • Sander, Ruth. Exercise is associated with a delayed onset of dementia. Nursing Older People. Jan 2007: 39(1).
  • Yu, Fang, Ann M. Kolanowski, Neville E. Strumpf, and Paul J. Eslinger. Improving cognition and function through exercise intervention in Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. Winter 2006: 358(8).


Most Effective Fat Burning Exercises

Aerobic Exercise

Penn State Strength & Fitness division advises that aerobics burn fat. further, an aerobic work out should last for a minimum of 12 minutes and longer if you can manage. The warm up or cool down times are not counted in this 12 minutes. The amount of time that one's heart rate (HR) is inside one's Training Zone is the only time counted. The longer and more frequently one can do this, the quicker the fat will reduce.

Why must the aerobic workout last for 12 minutes or longer?

Twelve minutes is the minimum amount of time for the body to start producing fat-burning enzymes. This is necessary for burning fat off as energy. After the initial 12 minutes of aerobic exercise, the body begins to burn fat faster.

Most university physical education colleges are recommending a combination of aerobic exercise and weight lifting, with emphasis on the aerobics, and some physicians advise to lift weights prior to aerobics, because it can kick start the fat burning process as a catalyst for the enzymes to be secreted. Some sources advise to eat nothing before exercise and nothing for 2 hours afterward in order to prolong the fat burning, but not everyone can follow this advise. I find eating lightly before training works well and that I am not hungry afterwards for at least two hours.

Breath and Fat Burning

Dr. Jonny Bowden: Fat Burning

© 2007 Patty Inglish

Comments and Experiences

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    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 9 years ago from France

      This is exactly what I need after Christmas... I've never been much into aerobic exercise. I do prefer Yoga or Pilates, but I suppose that to get rid of the extra "christmas weight" I should introduce some aerobic routines. Thanks for the advice!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Brisk walking for 12 minutes would do it! Twice around a city block. :) Meerry Christmas!

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I think I lost three pounds just jogging through this great hub! I found cardiac rehab, which included lots of cycling for me, worked great. Since my bypass, golf has helped. But, with winter weather in the offing, I need to follow your good advice.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Hi William, sounds like you have a good plan.

      I've seen golfers in Ohio using Flame-Orange colored golf balls on the courses in the snow. Looks hard to me!

    • compu-smart profile image

      compu-smart 9 years ago from London UK

      lol @ Williams comment!

      Very usefull info Patty and a great Hub..I am lucky and have genes which keep my weight stable at all times.."aplogies everyone" lol

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      In that case, may we do some gene splicing? LOL

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 9 years ago

      Dear Patty, you just know how to put the BEST Hubs together!! Can I hire you to spruce up mine!!?? There are just not enough hours in the day!! I LOVE this Hub!! By chance, is that you nordic skiing?? The woman in that photo is exactly how I envisioned you!! Blessings to you!! Earth Angel!!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      EA, That's not me, but the woman looks like me, except I am more muscular and probably a bit shorter. Our golf courses provide cross country skiiing when there is a large snowfall that lasts a couple of days. The big storm we had a few days ago turned to slush in just 2 hours!

      Hubbing is becoming art to me and I am in a zone of sorts when I do it. I wonder if I could sell you a bottle of zone? LOL

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 9 years ago from Chennai

      Wow! A complete hub! After going through the hub, I had a lot of fun in the comments section!

      I do the brisk walking bit; 

      I walk about twice the speed of the average guy in my city, and that keeps me fit, I think!

      Thanks for this thorough hub, Patty! 

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      I am glad you are enjoying this Hub Kemnny! Keep walking!

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 9 years ago

      I can always use some tips on burning fat. Thanks!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      You're welcome. Different exercises work best for different people, but the weight lifting before the aerobics seems pretty widespread inits good effect. Thanks for stopping by and visiting my Hubs!

    • mallu profile image

      mallu 9 years ago

      nicely done..

    • MoralsEthics1960 profile image

      MoralsEthics1960 9 years ago from Florida

      Just what I need after Christmas.This covers it all thanks

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      I hope you find it really practical and useful, mallu and MoralsEthics1960!

    • Peter M. Lopez profile image

      Peter M. Lopez 9 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

      I am practicing your breathing exercises as I write. Thanks.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      I wish them to work for you as well as they do for me, Peter. Plus, every day I speedwalk for 15-20 minutes and this seems to keep my metabolism in a higher gear. Thanks for your visit here!

    • profile image

      Detroit 9 years ago

      12-minutes of aerobic type movements was hard to maintain at first, but after several days it became easier and easier. Then adding some weight training before the aerobic part helped even more. Thanks for the tips.

    • profile image

      elisabethkuhn 8 years ago

      Excellent info.  Especially loved the video on the Vagus nerve!  That explains a LOT.  Oh, and the various kinds of exercise you list is great too. And the Jonny Bowden interview. Thanks!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Glad you like it!

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      breathing exercises I do everydays helps me lot

    • Bellemerchant profile image

      Bellemerchant 8 years ago from New York

      I never used to do breathing exercises. I always thought...what's the point! I did however stretch before and after a work out. Based on the information you have given, I think breathing exercises will make a difference i my exercise routine, thanks a bunch! ;)

    • AndyBaker profile image

      AndyBaker 8 years ago from UK

      I really need to start doing some of these.

      I was doing 45 minutes on one of those stepping machines 5 days a week but got really busy at work and stopped going.

    • TomsFitnessGuide profile image

      TomsFitnessGuide 7 years ago

      Great hub. Some solid information! ;)

    • profile image

      All about losing body fat 7 years ago

      More than the exercises, I think your approach is what's important. I'm a big fan of circuit training, you can do most any exercises, but you need to move from one to another quickly to keep your hear rate up.

    • bojanglesk8 profile image

      bojanglesk8 7 years ago

      Perfect hub.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Great hub. I exersise while I am at the computer. I do squats, jogging in place all the while with weights in my hands and on my feet. Why waste the time you spend in front of the computer. lol

    • vigorelle profile image

      vigorelle 7 years ago from spain

      Do you use rest days when doing your training,have read this is good for muscle recovery.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      For myself, I find exercising every other day is best, except to take a brisk walk on the off days. Some people exercise different body areas each day, but still, I would recommend suspension of exercise activity one day a week so the body can rest and heal more throughly. It refreshes the mnd as well.

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 7 years ago

      Summer time is here and everyone is wanting to fit inside those bikini's, one piece or two?

    • Madison Parker profile image

      Madison Parker 7 years ago from California

      Great info! I'm currently vacationing in the gold country of CA, about a 2 minute drive from my sister-in-law, the gourmet cook! I will need these in a big way, (no pun intended,) by the end of the week. You put so much into this article; beautifully done.

      Madison/Shay Davidson

    • profile image

      Salvync 7 years ago

      Great Hub. I didn't know breathing can help to burn fat. Interesting.

    • Writermiss profile image

      Writermiss 6 years ago

      Very useful information. Not only did I learn how breathing and stretching can burn fat, I didn't realize how lack of adequate sleep contributes to fat storage. My workout usually consists of 30 mins cardio and 30 mins of strength training 3 times/week, but I've noticed less results in the past month. I haven't been sleeping more than 4-5 hours/night. And often because of lack of energy, I've had to decrease the intensity of my workouts. Thank you for "enlightening" me and sharing more options (easy and accessible) to improve my exercise and overall general health.

    • Jon Law profile image

      Jon Law 6 years ago from Birmingham UK

      Some good info here, I like.

    • nikitha p profile image

      nikitha p 6 years ago from India

      very informative hub!

    • Dale Michaels profile image

      Dale Michaels 6 years ago from Guangzhou, China

      Great Hub loaded with great information.

    • ubalildon profile image

      ubalildon 6 years ago

      seriously i'd like to learn some more burning exercise!!!

    • Nomason profile image

      Nomason 6 years ago from Nigeria


    • sunbeams profile image

      sunbeams 6 years ago from Cairns , Australia

      I simply loved the hub.You have put things down so clearly.I realise I am missing aerobics...

    • lael8 profile image

      lael8 5 years ago from Rapid City, SD

      Hi Patty...

      What a great hub! There is a wealth of information here. As psychologist, I am forever preaching the benefits of exercise for mental health and just overall clarity of mind...And most often I am preaching it to the person in the mirror! :) Thanks for the commentary on breathing. I'm a proponent of mindfulness meditation, and the biggest thing I notice with clients is that they simply do not know how to breath. They breath shallow breaths that do not adequately fill the body. Such a small thing to remedy but with big pay offs! Thanks again!

    • KBEvolve profile image

      Kenneth Brown 5 years ago from United States

      This is very interesting. I've encountered similar information before but never have seen the scientific links. I am curious about something though.

      You stated that stretching before and after exercise, and in some places I've read that static stretching beforehand can lessen performance. Do you know anything about where the truth lies?

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      lael8 - Breathing deeply enough is vital, as I've found out from experience in exercise and periods of non-exercise.

      KBEvolve - Thanks for the question. I'll answer form my education and experience in Medicine, physical fitness, and 29 years martial arts teaching - especially as adjunct therapy for muscle and join conditions that raised several from wheelchairs.

      Results depend on a number of factors. What performance measurements are you referencing? Knowing that would help answer. - Stretching beforehand is vital for safety in many forms of exercise. I don't like cold stretching, having my classes jog in place or self-massage percussively to increase circulation before stretching.

      I wish I could get construction workers to stretch before and after work, and to exercise in addition to work. What they do for work is movement, but not healthy exercise - I know several disabled construction workers as a result.

    • profile image

      MP50 5 years ago

      Great Hub, I do everything you have mentioned in this Hub. Hardly surprising I am in such good shape. LOL.

      Stretching and deep breathing are highly important to any athelete.

      A good tip is do not bounce when stretching, just stretch and hold this will give you more strength and flexiblity.

      Deep breathing exercises are a must for anyone, I do them on a daily basis and can count to 30 on inhale and 50 exhale, not bad for a dialysis patient.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Thanks very much! 50 on exhale is indeed pretty good - Happy Healthy New Year!

    • profile image

      MP50 5 years ago

      Thank You the same to You.

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Patty, I especially enjoyed the YouTube video on the vagus nerve. My "thing" is deep breathing and it's great to hear how that helps burn fat. Thanks. Sandra Busby

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 3 years ago from North America

      Thanks very much, SamitaJassi.

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