How Does Playing Sports Weigh Against Aerobic Exercise for Burning Calories

August 5, 2012

This is a guest post by Janet Lynch.

For years, athletes and experts alike have argued over which is better for burning calories – aerobic exercise or sports. In taking a closer look, however, it is important to narrow down exactly which sport or sports are being analyzed, as there are some that require a great deal more cardio work and intensity than others.

Yet, while some may think that running for a touchdown pass or sliding down the ice for a breakaway goal is the best thing since sliced bread, others feel that the type of exercise that is gained by playing sports pales in comparison to the benefits your body receives from participating in an intense aerobic workout – and those individual may just be right!

playing sports

How and Where Aerobic Exercise Can Really Shine

While partaking in sporting events can provide both physical and social benefits, there are a great many advantages to using aerobics to specifically pinpoint certain areas of your body that you would like to improve.

With this in mind, before starting a calorie burning aerobic routine, it is best to decide on the specific goal that you would like to achieve. This will help you in both the short- and long-run in that you will be able to more closely target your workout to those particular areas. In addition, if you are seeking a major weight loss – and thus, overall body change – it also helps to think about the physiological benefits that you will attain as well.

There are a myriad of other possible goals that one may have in addition to weight loss though. For instance, if your goal is to become a faster runner, then opt to teach your body to run effectively and efficiently in an aerobic state. This will allow you to maintain energy for a longer period of time along with burning off a great deal of calories.

Burning Calories Through Aerobics – It Can Actually Be Fun

Not all calorie burning aerobic exercises need to be in the form of an actual “workout.” There are many fun ways to lose fat while also including social time with friends or even by learning a new skill. For example, while the calories that are burned during aerobics and dancing are primarily influenced by one’s body weight, intensity of the movements, metabolism, and conditioning level, you can actually burn more calories having fun with aerobic activities such as jazzercise than you can in a low impact aerobics routine.

Activity for 1 hour 130 pounds 155 pounds 180 pounds 205 pounds
Low impact aerobics 295 352 409 465
Jazzercise 354 422 490 558

In addition, all aerobic exercise that burns calories does not need to even involve sweating. Today, water aerobics has become a popular way for people to burn off calories while taking a dip in the pool!

In the past, it was thought that this type of exercise did not provide much of an actual workout. Yet, the resistance that the water adds while you are walking, bouncing, and jogging in the pool will in most cases allow you to actually burn more calories than if you were doing these very same exercises on dry land. And, as an added benefit, you will also be working more of your muscle groups during water aerobics because the movements you are making in the water will require more effort due to the resistance factor.

Moving Forward With Your New Look

Coming back to the aerobics versus sports argument – there are ways that both sides can win. There are some experts that believe it is best to burn fat or reduce body fat and size by using aerobic exercise first. Once you have achieved your desired results, then maintaining your new look by participating in sports and doing other types of sports related workouts is the way to go.

One reason for this is that there are only so many calories that one can burn by playing certain sports – especially those that include longer rest periods between actually moving and playing. In addition, while sports can make you sweat, you may or may not be working the exact areas of your body that you are wishing to reduce, sculpt, or change.

In any case, whether you are a sports playing fanatic or an aerobics guru, the most important factor of all is that you do the activity – one or both – rather than not participating in either of them at all. This way, you will be assured of giving your body the exercise that it craves, and you will be helping your body physically, mentally, and physiologically.

photo by: Quiltsalad

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