There’s no magic way to drop excess weight, but proven exercise strategies can help you. Get the facts on the best exercises to lose weight successfully.
There are many reasons to lose excess weight. Maybe your doctor advises weight loss to help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and other chronic health problems. Or maybe you just want to fit into your favorite pair of jeans again.
Considering that millions of Americans are overweight and almost 40 percent of U.S. adults are obese, according the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you have plenty of company.
Cutting back on calories is important, but regular exercise is also key. While there’s no superfast or magical workout that sheds pounds, there are successful ways to exercise and lose excess weight — and keep it off.
Look: How to exercise to lose weight
Research shows people who exercise steadily and keep it up, along with eating a healthy diet, are the most successful in losing weight (around one to two pounds a week), the CDC explains. The best weight loss exercises for you, personally, are activities you enjoy and stick with long-term.
Of course, always get cleared by your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have a health problem or have been sedentary. But no matter how slowly you may need to start, the first step is to make the commitment to exercise to lose weight (along with healthy eating). But don’t be vague about the kinds of exercise you will pursue.
You may decide to start out simply walking, for example, for 15 minutes. Stick with it, increase the time, and then add more moderate and vigorous exercises to burn calories at a faster rate and increase weight loss.
To lose excess pounds and keep them off, you need to aim for least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorously intense aerobic activity each week. Another option is to do a combination of both. Two minutes of moderate intensity count the same as one minute of vigorous intensity activity, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
Examples of moderately intense aerobic activity include riding a bike at an easy pace and fast walking. Running or jogging, swimming laps, jumping rope, cross-country skiing, rollerblading, and most sports (like soccer and basketball) are examples of vigorously intense exercise.
Whether you are walking fast, running, or playing basketball, when you begin to breathe faster and have difficulty talking, you’ve achieved moderately intense exercise. Vigorous exercise burns calories even more quickly — and you’ll know you have reached this exercise level because it results in an even greater increase in heart rate and breathing and makes talking very difficult.
Bottom line? Check out the best exercises for weight loss according to research
Researchers have found two approaches to exercising for weight loss are especially successful:
- Circuit training is a group of six to 10 exercises performed in a specific, pre-planned sequence, with little to no rest between each exercise. For example, you might alternate between working out the upper and lower parts of your body with push-ups and then pull-ups, move on to running in place and, next, use a rowing machine. Circuit training is flexible and adaptable to most fitness levels, and research shows it’s one of the best workouts for weight loss. A person weighing 150 lbs. who completes an hour long, moderately intense circuit training session will burn up about 308 calories; at a more intense level of exercise, you’ll burn up over 500 calories, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
- High intensity interval training (HIIT), often called simply interval training, is a system of exercising for brief periods at high intensity, resting for a short while, then doing more high intensity exercise. Interval training can include outdoor activities, like running or cycling, or using treadmills, ellipticals, or stationary bikes. A typical HIIT session begins with five to 10 minutes of stretching and warming up, then working out intensely (such as running as fast as you can) for a minute, resting two to three minutes, and moving on to another high intensity bout of exercise, according to ACE. The cycle of fast exercise and resting is repeated 10 to 12 times. A large analysis of research into exercises to lose weight, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found interval training can result in almost 30 percent more weight loss than other continuous moderate intensity workouts, after about 12 weeks.
March 25, 2019
Janet O’Dell, RN