What type of exercise works best for you

Have you wondered which style of exercise is best for you? What type of energy expenditure will most benefit your body? Here are a few comparisons found in recent studies by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Journal for Sports Medicine, the International Aquatics Association and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Let's take your average runner versus inline skater. They both burn about the same amount of calories according to a study by the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Running a distance of six to eight mph burns about 14.9 calories per minute versus the skater at a speed of 12 to 14 miles per hour who burns 14.1 calories per minute. Other studies by the International Journal of Sports Medicine felt that running was a much more intense aerobic workout than skating. However, consider the end result. Skating tones hips, thighs and buttocks quickly.

Do you like to walk? The benefits here are in the lowering of cholesterol levels, even in slow walkers with speeds of less than three mph. The brisk walkers did become more fit with four or five mph walks, but the end result of lower cholesterol was about the same. There is a definite difference in the amount of calories burned during running than during walking, even when the two sports are done at the same speed and with the same intensity. When the heart rate is raised between 65 and 75 percent of maximum, there is more fat burned during jogging than walking.

Have you been doing your exercises in the pool? It's great fun but what are the benefits? Studies from the International Aquatics Association state that calories burned in a standard aquatic exercise class are similar to a low-impact exercise program, about 10.5 calories per minute when heart rates achieved the needed 75 percent of maximum.

Are you a student of low-impact aerobics? Medical studies show that low and high impact aerobics are similar if the goal is to maintain bone density. They tested 20 women with both types of aerobics and held a control group who did no exercise at all. At the end of the year, low- and high- impact aerobics showed similar increases in bone density with the nonexercise group having lost bone mass. Three exercise sessions a week of low-impact exercise is effective in maintaining bone mass density.

There you have it. If you want to burn your calories and accomplish goals, you need the harder, sweatier types of fitness. If your goal is maintenance, bone density and lower cholesterol, look to the lighter forms of exercise.

• Jerry Vance is the owner of Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through the Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.


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