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Experts say there is no magic to exercise. You get out of it what you put in. That doesn’t mean you have to work out for hours each day. It just means you need to work smart.

That said, experts agree that not all exercises are created equal. Some are simply more efficient than others, whether they target multiple muscle groups, are suitable for a wide variety of fitness levels, or help you burn calories more effectively.

So what are the best exercises?

1. Walking

Any exercise program should include cardiovascular exercise, which strengthens the heart and burns calories. And walking is something you can do anywhere, anytime, with no equipment other than a good pair of shoes.

“Doing a brisk walk can burn up to 500 calories per hour,” says Robert Gotlin, DO, director of orthopaedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. Since it takes 3,500 calories to lose a pound, you could expect to lose a pound for every seven hours you walk, if you did nothing else.  Don’t go from the sofa to walking an hour day, though. Richard Cotton, a spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, says beginners should start by walking five to -10 minutes at a time, gradually moving up to at least 30 minutes per session.

2. Interval training

Whether you’re a beginner or an exercise veteran, a walker or an aerobic dancer, adding interval training to your cardiovascular workout will boost your fitness level and help you lose weight

3. Squats

Strength training is essential, the experts say. “The more muscular fitness you have, the greater the capacity you have to burn calories. Target multiple muscle groups. Squats, which work the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals, are an excellent example. They give you the best bang for the buck because they use the most muscle groups at once.

Tomorrow we will discuss the other 4 exercises.  Let me hear from you.  Give me your thoughts.

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