Weight loss is a common goal for many people. There are many ways to lose weight, but some methods are better than others. The best form of exercise for weight loss depends on your goals and your fitness level.
The best form of exercise for weight loss is the one that helps you lose weight while also improving your overall health. If you want to lose weight, then cardio exercises like running, biking, walking or swimming are great options because they burn calories while strengthening your heart and lungs. Strength training is another great option because it helps build muscle mass which can increase metabolism and help burn more calories throughout the day.
If you’re not able to do much physical activity due to injury or other health issues, then other forms of exercise may be better for you. For example, yoga can be done at home without any special equipment required and can help improve flexibility which can make everyday activities easier on your body such as walking up stairs or bending over to pick up things off the floor.”
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Best Indoor Workout For Weight Loss
Losing weight is easier said than done, and there isn’t a magic pill to take off pounds. Instead, you have to burn more calories than you take in. This involves a healthy diet, as well as a combination of cardio and strength training.
Ready to shed stubborn pounds? Here’s a look at some of the best cardio and strength-training exercises for weight loss, along with tips to be active throughout the day.
4 cardio exercises for weight loss
Cardiovascular workouts (or simply cardio) elevate your heart rate. These are some of the most effective forms of exercise for weight loss because the greater your heartbeat, the more fat you’ll burn, explains Multazim Shaikh, a fitness trainer and nutritionist with FamFits.
To lose weight or maintain weight loss, you’ll need up to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, according to the Mayo Clinic. This averages about 60 minutes, five days a week.
If you’re busy, split up your cardio into three smaller workouts a day. One example: Exercise 20 minutes in the morning before work, walk 20 minutes on your lunch break, and exercise for 20 minutes after dinner.
Great cardio workouts to help you lose weight include:
1. Low-intensity cardio
You don’t have to exercise at a high intensity to lose weight. If you’re a beginner or have physical limitations, low-intensity cardio can also help you burn calories and drop pounds.
These workouts include jogging, bicycling, power walking, swimming, and aerobics. Start slow and gradually up the intensity as you adjust to your new routine.
Aim for 60 minutes of low-intensity cardio five days a week. As you become more physically fit, carry hand weights while jogging, walking, or doing aerobics.
2. Jump rope
Jumping rope not only improves coordination and cognitive function, but the intensity of this workout elevates your heart rate, helping you burn about 1,300 calories per hour, explains Shaikh.
- Warm up with 8 to 10 jumps.
- Then jump continuously for 1 1/2 minutes.
- Rest for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat.
- Complete 3 sets.
You can switch up your routine, too. Jump one set on a single leg, one set with both legs, and one set while running in place.
Burpees combine squats, jumps, and pushups. It’s an effective workout because you’re burning fat from your overall body, and you’re training multiple muscle groups like your chest, legs, and core, says Shaikh.
- Do 10 reps in 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds.
- Repeat for 5 minutes.
4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This cardio workout has increased in popularity due to its ability to maximize calorie burn and fat loss. It involves intense bursts of exercise to elevate your heart rate, followed by 15 seconds of rest.
HIIT is great if you don’t have a lot of time. You’re able to exercise for a shorter length of time, yet complete a more intense and strenuous workout. As a result, you’ll continue to burn calories for hours after the workout, notes Shaikh.
Here’s an example of a HIIT routine:
- Complete butt kicks for 45 seconds, and rest for 15 seconds.
- Next, perform jumping lunges for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest.
- Complete burpees for 45 seconds, and rest for 15 seconds.
- Repeat for 10 to 20 minutes.
- You can also incorporate other movements like mountain climbers and jump squats.
Or, you can try to complete a HIIT workout on a treadmill:
- Warm up for 5 minutes.
- Then sprint at a high-intensity speed for 1 minute.
- Walk for 30 seconds, and then sprint again at a high-intensity speed for 1 minute.
- Complete 8 to 10 sets.
5 strength-training exercises for weight loss
Even though strength training alone doesn’t have fast results, don’t ignore weight training or strength training when losing weight.
These training sessions can fire up your metabolism. And because they build lean muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories during exercise and at rest, according to Stephanie Blozy, an exercise science expert and the owner of Fleet Feet in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Great weight and strength-training exercises to help you lose weight include:
1. Kettlebell swings
This full-body, demanding workout will amp up your heart rate while increasing your arm and leg strength and helping you develop a strong core, explains Blozy.
- Complete a two-handed kettlebell swing for 20 seconds.
- Rest for 8 seconds.
- Repeat 8 sets.
Blozy recommends lifting faster to boost your heart rate even more and have a more cardio-intense workout.
Pushups are an excellent exercise for stabilizing the core, building upper body strength, and increasing muscle mass in your arms.
If you’re a beginner, start with 3 sets of 10 reps. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between each set. Gradually increase your number of reps as your strength improves.
“I love the options lunges provide because you can do them forward, backward, weighted, and unweighted,” says Blozy. “For the weighted version, hold a kettlebell or weight plate next to your chest, or make it even more challenging and lift the weight overhead.”
- Complete 1 set of 8 to 12 lunges per leg.
Blozy also recommends step-ups as another great exercise to strengthen the legs while stabilizing your core and lower back muscles. “Start with a small step height (6 to 12 inches) and then progress to a higher height, like 24 to 30 inches.”
- Complete 5 sets of 5 to 10 reps per side.
Want to make it challenging? Add weight by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell next to your chest or hold one in each hand, Blozy says. “Not only will your quads burn, but your heartrate will accelerate and sweat will pour.”
Blozy also suggests deadlifts as an exercise to build muscles in both the lower and upper body, while reducing fat. She encourages lightening the load to 50 to 70 percent of your max, and increasing the reps so it’ll feel more like cardio than weight training.
- Complete 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps.
Simple ways to be active every day
Along with a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet, look for other ways to be active every day.
Remember, the more you move, the more calories you’ll burn. This can maximize your weight loss efforts and help you reach your goal sooner.
- Pace the room during commercial breaks, between show episodes, or while talking on the phone.
- Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
- Park your car in the back of parking lots.
- Get a fitness tracker. Some trackers send alerts when you’ve been sedentary for too long. These alerts remind you to move.
- Schedule walking meetings with your coworkers.
- Fidget in your seat, such as tapping your hand, rocking your leg, or engaging your abdominal muscles as you sit. According to one study, people with obesity who fidget might expend an additional 350 calories per day.
- Get off the bus or subway a stop earlier, and walk the rest of the way to your destination.
- Put on headphones while cooking or completing other household chores. This will encourage you to move or dance.
- Walk the dog as a family.
How to stick with an active routine?
Starting and sticking with an exercise routine is probably the hardest part. But a few tricks can make it easier to stay active.
Stay fueled with foods
For example, eat a light snack before exercise to keep your energy up. Nothing too heavy, though. Great pre-workout snacks include:
- dried fruit
- trail mix
- energy bar
- peanut butter crackers
Also, get plenty of sleep the night before exercising. It’s harder to work out when you’re sluggish or exhausted. You should also get a workout/accountability buddy. This is someone who motivates you to reach your fitness goals.
Make it fun when you can
Lastly, choose workouts you find enjoyable. If you hate run-of-the-mill aerobic classes, take a dance class instead. Staying active is easier when you’re having fun.
The Importance of Weight Loss and Exercise
Carrying around too much weight feels uncomfortable, and it can also damage your health. According the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity rates have skyrocketed in the United States in recent years. As of 2010, more than one-third of American adults have obesity, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Body mass is derived by dividing weight in pounds by height in inches squared, and then multiplying the result by 703 (weight (lb) / [height (in)] 2 x 703). You can calculate your body mass by following these three steps:
- Multiply your weight in pounds by 703.
- Calculate your height in inches squared.
- Divide the resulting number from step 1 by the resulting number in step 3.
Obesity can lead to a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some types of cancer.
One method that can help a person lose weight is to limit the number of calories taken in through their diet. The other way is to burn extra calories with exercise.
Benefits of Exercise vs. Diet
Combining exercise with a healthy diet is a more effective way to lose weight than depending on calorie restriction alone. Exercise can prevent or even reverse the effects of certain diseases. Exercise lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, which may prevent a heart attack.
In addition, if you exercise, you lower your risk of developing certain types of cancers such as colon and breast cancer. Exercise is also known to help contribute to a sense of confidence and well-being, thus possibly lowering rates of anxiety and depression.
Exercise is helpful for weight loss and maintaining weight loss. Exercise can increase metabolism, or how many calories you burn in a day. It can also help you maintain and increase lean body mass, which also helps increase number of calories you burn each day.
How Much Exercise Is Needed for Weight Loss?
To reap the health benefits of exercise, it is recommended that you to perform some form of aerobic exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes per session. However, more than 20 minutes is better if you want to actually lose weight. Incorporating just 15 minutes of moderate exercise — such as walking one mile — on a daily basis will burn up to 100 extra calories (assuming you don’t consume excess calories in your diet afterwards). Burning 700 calories a week can equals 10 lbs. of weight loss over the course of a year.
Calculating Your Target Heart Rate
To receive all of the health benefits of exercise, you’ll need to mix in some higher intensity exercises. To get an idea of how hard you are working, you can check your heart rate. The basic formula for determining your target heart rate is to subtract your age from 220 and then calculate 60 to 80 percent of that number.
Talk to a trainer or your healthcare team to help you determine your best intensity for each workout. Those with special health concerns such as an injury, diabetes, or a heart condition should consult a physician before beginning any fitness program.
What Are Some Examples of the Different Types of Exercise?
The type of exercise you choose for weight loss doesn’t matter as much as whether or not you’re doing it. That’s why experts recommend you pick exercises you enjoy, so that you’ll stick to a regular routine.
No matter what exercise program you implement, it should include some form of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. Aerobic exercises get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. Aerobic exercises may include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and dancing. You can also work out on a fitness machine such as a treadmill, elliptical, or stair stepper.
A big advantage of working out with weights is that, in addition to shedding fat, you’ll build muscle. Muscle, in turn, burns calories. Talk about a healthy feedback loop! Experts recommend working all the major muscle groups three times per week. This includes:
Yoga is not as intense as other types of exercise, but it can help you lose weight in other ways, according to a recent study by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The study found that people who practice yoga are more mindful about what they eat and, therefore, less likely to have obesity.
Incorporating Exercise Into Your Lifestyle
The total amount of exercise you engage in during a day matters more than whether or not you do it in a single session. That’s why small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in your waistline.
Healthy lifestyle habits to consider include:
- walking or riding your bike to work or while running errands
- taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- parking farther away from destinations and walking the remaining distance
Activities and the Amount of Calories They Burn
The average adult male who doesn’t exercise requires approximately 2,200 calories a day to maintain his average weight. A female needs about 1,800 calories to maintain her weight.
The following list contains common activities and the approximate amount of calories burned per hour:
playing baseball, golf, or cleaning the house
240 to 300
brisk walking, biking, dancing, or gardening
370 to 460
playing football, jogging (at a nine-minute-mile pace), or swimming
580 to 730
skiing, racquetball, or running (at a seven-minute-mile pace)
740 to 920
Before You Start an Exercise Program
Talk to your doctor before you start a new exercise program, especially if you are planning on doing vigorous exercise. This is especially important if you have:
- heart disease
- lung disease
- kidney disease
People who have been very inactive for the recent months, who are overweight, or have recently quit smoking should also talk to their doctors before staring a new exercise program. When you are first starting a new exercise program, it’s important to pay attention to the signals your body is giving you. You should push yourself, so that your fitness