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What is the best kind of exercise to burn fat?

Ask Peggy

Peggy Woodward, RD

DEAR PEGGY: What is the best kind of exercise to burn fat? I've heard that vigorous exercise burns sugar but not fat. Does that mean I should avoid strenuous workouts if I want to burn fat? —P.M., Columbus, Indiana

During a workout, your body uses up excess sugar first. This is because the body burns carbohydrates before turning its attention to any stored fat.

The longer your exercise sessions last, the more chances your body has to tackle stored fat and the more calories you burn overall.

Easy to moderate, prolonged exercise is key because the average person can work out at a moderate pace for longer than if he or she exercised vigorously. In other words, most people are more likely to walk for a longer period of time than they are to jog.

Strenuous exercise can help you shed pounds if you use a special technique called interval training. This type of workout relies on a session of easy activity that's accompanied by short bursts of vigorous exercise. For instance, consider breaking up your daily walk with a few short bursts of jogging.

Because the high-energy jogging shouldn't cause excessive fatigue, you should still be able to complete the route of your daily walk. As such, you will burn more calories than if you jogged a short distance.

No matter what form of exercise you enjoy, keep in mind that you'll generally shed fat and pounds if you consistently burn more calories than you consume.

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