One of the two most important steps that need to be taken for weight loss is exercise. The problem with that is that even for those of us who are extremely motivated and would love to be able to push ourselves to be able to exercise all the time and burn off all of that extra fat.  For this reason, many of us can benefit from fast workouts that give us the largest amount of impact in the smallest amount of time.

In most cases, cardio exercises will burn the largest number of calories in one go, but it is important to make sure to focus on toning muscles, as well, because muscles are amazing calorie burners, even when you’re doing nothing more than sitting on the couch.

The following are some great exercises that you can incorporate into some fast workouts to give yourself the largest impact without taking up a tremendous amount of time. The key is to make sure that you are challenging yourself but not pushing yourself too hard.  You may wish to speak with your doctor to be sure that you understand your fitness level and how much exercise is right for you.

  • Step aerobics – though these may not be the hottest trend at the moment, step aerobics are huge calorie burners.  In fact, for an hour of exercise, you could burn a whopping 800 calories.  Join a class or buy a good video designed for your fitness level.  Step aerobics are great because they target your legs, hips, and backside.  These are areas where there are large muscle groups and where many people want to lose a lot of weight.  The larger the active muscles, the more calories will be burned!
  • Cycling – whether you’re riding an actual bike or a stationary bicycle, cycling can burn between 500 to 1000 calories per hour, depending on how fast you are going and what type of resistance you experience (such as going up hills).  Although riding outside is typically the most fun and challenging, for people who need to save a lot of time, a good quality stationary bike will do the trick in a big way.  It will also help you get more out of the time in which you’d typically be sitting around, such as when you watch television.
  • Swimming – this excellent exercise is not only easy on the joints and quite relaxing, but it also burns up to 800 calories per hour.  This is a wonderful way to lose weight because it uses muscles all over your body, from your core to your legs and your arms and everything in between.