Cardio helps you burn fat.
In a diet-obsessed culture, it is hard not to be tempted by weight-loss products and diets that promise easy and fast fat loss. But these types of fad diets, pills and equipment only provide a temporary solution to your chronic weight problem. The best way to lose fat is through regular physical activity that includes weight training and aerobics, and a healthy balanced diet.
One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. You can lose 1 to 2 pounds a week creating a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories a day. The best way to create this deficit is by eating fewer calories and increasing your physical activity. When trying to lose fat, you should not lose more than 2 pounds a week. If you lose more than this, you are more likely losing muscle and water, not fat.
As you get older your muscle mass decreases and is replaced by fat. Weight training helps you rebuild muscle and decrease body fat. The additional muscle also improves calorie burning. Weight-training activities include lifting weights, body-resistance exercises such as pushups and situps, and use of resistance bands. A good workout should include all of the major muscle groups -- arms, shoulders, chest, abs, back and legs -- and tire your muscle after 12 repetitions. You don't need to spend hours at the gym to get results; you only need about 20 to 30 minutes two to three days a week.
When it comes to losing fat, aerobic exercise works best. A 2012 study published in the "Journal of Applied Physiology" compared the fat-burning effects of aerobic exercise vs. weight training in a group of obese individuals. The study found that aerobic exercise helped burn more fat than weight training alone. You should get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise -- a brisk walk or bike ride -- five days a week. But increasing your activity to 60 minutes a day can help improve fat loss.
Diet has a bigger impact on fat loss than exercise, according to MayoClinic.com. So if you want to lose those pounds, you need to eat a balanced diet and fewer calories. Focusing your meals on low-calorie fruits and vegetables can help reduce caloric intake and satisfy your appetite. You should also include more whole grains for the added fiber, which slows digestion and controls hunger. Protein choices should be lean and low in fat, including more poultry, seafood, beef round, pork loin and low-fat dairy products. You should also limit your intake of foods high in sugar and fat, such as soda, cake and chips; these types of foods fill your calorie quota without offering any nutritional value.