In order to lose weight you need to increase your physical activity level. In addition to embracing a healthy diet, it’s fundamental that you exercise more. Exercising allows you to burn more calories and gradually shed those extra pounds. Of course, letting go of your sedentary lifestyle will also reduce the risk of various diseases, strengthen your muscles and bones and improve your mental wellbeing.
Below you can find a list of exercise types that will aid you lose weight in an efficient manner.
Walking is one of the best exercises to lose weight. Why? Because it’s easy to do, it doesn’t require special physical abilities, it puts less stress on your body and it can burn a significant amount of calories. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a 185-pound (84 kg) adult who completes a 30-minute walking session will burn a different amount of calories depending on the pace. For instance:
- walking at a speed of 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) will burn 159 calories
- walking at a speed of 4 mph (6.4 km/h) will burn 189 calories
The direct link between walking and weight loss has been scientifically proven. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, scientists examined the impact of a calorie-restricted diet with and without moderate-intensity walking on body weight and body composition among others. The researchers divided 82 men and women in two groups: one group went on a specific diet, while the second group received the same diet, but also engaged in walking sessions of 2.5 hours per week. After the 12-week trial, the walking group was able to lose more body weight and also more fat mass in comparison to the non-walking group.
If you’re set on starting a walking program, make sure you keep track of your activity. You can do this by downloading a pedometer app like our own ActivityTracker. This way you’ll see relevant fitness metrics, such as your step count, the calories burned, the distance walked or the active time, for each hour, day, week and month. You’ll be able to set personal goals, monitor your progress and find the motivation to walk more.
Running is one of the most effective workouts for weight loss. If you don’t have previous joint problems and your body can handle high-intensity training, this activity will turn out to be truly beneficial. A 185-pound adult who’ll run for 30 minutes at 5 mph (8 km/h) will burn no fewer than 336 calories. Running at 6 mph (9.6 km/h) will lead to a total calorie burn of 420. And the progression goes on. The faster you move, the higher the number of calories torched.
Going for a run on a constant basis can help you burn off excess fat. This theory has been proven by medical research. Danish scientists investigated the effects of weekly running for one year in combination with diet changes on body fat mass. At the end of a 12-month program, they concluded that running for more than 5 km per week and maintaining a healthy diet are efficient ways to significantly reduce fat mass.
When we talk about effective exercises to lose weight, it’s impossible not to mention high-intensity interval training. HIIT mixes short, high-intensity periods of exercise with low-intensity recovery periods and can include any activity from brisk walking to bodyweight exercises and cycling. For instance, after warming up, you can run at a high-intensity for 30 seconds, walk at a slower pace for 2 minutes and repeat the pattern until you feel it’s enough.
HIIT workouts are great for slimming down because they allow you to burn a high number of calories in a short amount of time. In fact, scientific data show that these workouts are more efficient than aerobic or resistance training when it comes to burning calories. A systematic review and meta-analysis examined the differences between high-intensity interval training and moderate-intensity continuous training in terms of fat loss. The results indicated that, even though both can contribute to the reduction of body fat percentage, HIIT provides a 28.5% higher decrease in total absolute fat mass (kg/pounds).
Climbing stairs is an excellent exercise if your aim is to drop pounds. According to a research, engaging in this activity on a daily basis can aid sedentary adults reduce their weight. After a 3-week intervention, which consisted of stair climbing for at least 5 minutes twice a day, subjects showed visible improvements. More specifically, body weight was reduced on average by 3.35 kg (7.3 pounds), while body fat mass – by 2.53 kg (5.6 pounds). A small loss of thigh fat was also recorded.
A different study analyzed the impact of going up and down the stairs on young Chinese women suffering from obesity. Scientists divided the 36 participants in three groups: one group engaged in a stair descending exercise, one in a stair ascending exercise, while the last was a control group. At the end of the 12-week program, both the descending and ascending groups showed improvements in body composition. The abdominal fat though was lowered only in the descending group.
Cycling is a type of workout that comes with numerous health benefits. Among others, it can boost your cardiovascular fitness, improve flexibility and mobility, increase muscle and bone strength and, of course, keep your weight under control. Riding your bike is a fun and, at the same time, beneficial activity for weight loss, since it helps you burn body fat and tone up diverse muscle groups.
In a 12-week intervention, professors from the University of Palermo, Italy evaluated the effects of indoor cycling in sedentary overweight women. The women engaged in three sessions of cycling per week and received no dietary plan to follow. After 36 sessions, the participants showed a 3.2% decrease in body weight, 5% in fat mass, while lean mass increased by 2.6%. The body circumferences were also lowered.
In another study, 10 adult males between the ages of 22 and 33 took part in an intense 45-minute cycling session. The results showed that they were able to burn 519 calories during this time. Not only that, but they continued to burn an extra 190 calories for 14 hours after the end of the workout.
Strength training is a type of workout truly rewarding when it comes to both physical and mental health. Also known as resistance training, this activity can help you build and tone up your muscles, strengthen your bones, improve coordination and mobility, raise your self-esteem and boost your mood. Naturally, this is also a great weight loss workout. Strength training boosts your metabolism, so you can burn more calories and get rid of those extra pounds.
There are numerous studies that confirm the weight loss benefits of resistance training. In a systematic review and meta-analysis carried out to analyze the impact of resistance training on obese adolescents, researchers discovered that this form of exercise can decrease obesity by decreasing body fat, body mass index and waist circumference. Another similar review, which included 58 studies, concluded that strength training lowers body fat percentage, body fat mass and visceral fat in healthy individuals.
Jumping rope is another rich-in-benefits exercise. This is a full-body workout that engages diverse muscle groups, from your hamstrings to your abdominals and shoulders. This form of exercise boosts your cardiovascular health, strengthens your muscles and bones, improves balance and coordination and helps you manage your weight.
Jumping rope is an effective workout for torching calories. A 185-pound (84 kg) adult who completes a 30-minute session at a slow pace will burn 335 calories. If the same person can maintain a fast pace, the number of calories burned reaches a total of 503. Combined with a reduction of the daily calorie intake, jumping rope can have a positive influence on your cardiometabolic health. According to a recent research, calorie restriction and jumping rope can lead to a decrease in body weight, body mass index, body fat percentage and body fat mass.
Swimming is a great alternative if you want to lose weight through exercise. Going for a 30-minute swim can help a 185-pound person burn 252 calories. Swimming laps in a vigorous way for the same amount of time will burn as much as 420 calories. Findings indicate that this workout has a direct effect on physical composition, leading to a reduction in body fat rate.
Of course, going for a swim on a regular basis can do much more for your health. This activity works your entire body and can tone up your muscles, boost your cardiovascular fitness and improve endurance and flexibility. At the same time, swimming doesn’t put too much stress on your body, which makes it ideal for people with arthritis or injuries.