It’s estimated that half of all American adults attempt to lose weight every year. Aside from dieting, exercising is one of the most common strategies employed by those trying to shed extra pounds. It burns calories, and this plays a key role in weight loss. In addition to helping you lose weight, exercise has been linked to many other benefits, including improved mood, stronger bones, and a reduced risk of many chronic diseases.
Walking is one of the best exercises for weight loss — and for good reason. It’s convenient and an easy way for beginners to start exercising without feeling overwhelmed or needing to purchase equipment. Also, it’s a lower-impact exercise, meaning it doesn’t stress your joints. According to Harvard Health, it’s estimated that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns around 167 calories per 30 minutes of walking at a moderate pace of 4 mph (6.4 km/h). A 12-week study in 20 women with obesity found that walking for 50–70 minutes 3 times per week reduced body fat and waist circumference by an average of 1.5% and 1.1 inches (2.8 cm), respectively. Walking is a great exercise for beginners, as it can be done anywhere, doesn’t require equipment, and puts minimal stress on your joints. Try to incorporate more walks into your day-to-day activities.
2. Jogging Or Running
Jogging and running are great exercises to help you lose weight. Although they seem similar, the key difference is that a jogging pace is generally between 4–6 mph (6.4–9.7 km/h), while a running pace is faster than 6 mph (9.7 km/h). Harvard Health estimates that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns approximately 298 calories per 30 minutes of jogging at a 5-mph (8-km/h) pace, or 372 calories per 30 minutes of running at a 6-mph (9.7-km/h) pace. What’s more, studies have found that jogging and running can help burn harmful visceral fat, commonly known as belly fat. This type of fat wraps around your internal organs and has been linked to various chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Jogging and running are great exercises for weight loss that are easy to incorporate into your weekly routine. They can also help burn belly fat, which is linked to many chronic diseases.
Cycling is a popular exercise that improves your fitness and can help you lose weight. Although cycling is traditionally done outdoors, many gyms and fitness centers have stationary bikes that allow you to cycle while staying indoors. Harvard Health estimates that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns around 260 calories per 30 minutes of cycling on a stationary bike at a moderate pace, or 298 calories per 30 minutes on a bicycle at a moderate pace of 12–13.9 mph (19–22.4 km/h). Not only is cycling great for weight loss, but studies have found that people who cycle regularly have better overall fitness, increased insulin sensitivity, and a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and death, compared with those who don’t cycle regularly. Cycling is great for people of all fitness levels and can be done outdoors on a bicycle or indoors on a stationary bike. It has been linked to various health benefits, including increased insulin sensitivity and a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases.
4. Weight Training
Weight training is a popular choice for people looking to lose weight. According to Harvard Health, it’s estimated that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns roughly 112 calories per 30 minutes of weight training. Also, weight training can help you build strength and promote muscle growth, which can raise your resting metabolic rate (RMR), or how many calories your body burns at rest. One 6-month study showed that simply doing 11 minutes of strength-based exercises 3 times per week resulted in a 7.4% increase in metabolic rate, on average. In this study, that increase was equivalent to burning an additional 125 calories per day. Weight training can help you lose weight by burning calories during and after your workout. It may also help you build muscle mass, which raises your resting metabolic rate — the number of calories your body burns at rest.
5. Interval Training
Interval training, more commonly known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is a broad term that refers to short bursts of intense exercise that alternate with recovery periods. Typically, a HIIT workout lasts 10–30 minutes and can burn a lot of calories. One study in 9 active men found that HIIT burned 25–30% more calories per minute than other types of exercises, including weight training, cycling, and running on a treadmill. That means HIIT can help you burn more calories while spending less time exercising. Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that HIIT is especially effective at burning belly fat, which is linked to many chronic diseases. Interval training is an effective weight loss strategy that can be applied to many types of exercises, including running, jumping, biking, and more. Incorporating interval training into your routine can help you burn more calories in less time.
Swimming is a fun way to lose weight and get in shape. Harvard Health estimates that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns approximately 233 calories per half hour of swimming. How you swim appears to affect how many calories you burn. Per 30 minutes, a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns 298 calories doing backstroke, 372 calories doing breaststroke, 409 calories doing butterfly, and 372 calories treading water. One 12-week study in 24 middle-aged women found that swimming for 60 minutes 3 times per week significantly reduced body fat, improved flexibility, and reduced several heart disease risk factors, including high total cholesterol and blood triglycerides. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise for people looking to lose weight. Moreover, it may help improve your flexibility and reduce risk factors for various diseases.
Pilates is a great beginner-friendly exercise that may help you lose weight. According to a study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, a person weighing around 140 pounds (64 kg) would burn 108 calories at a 30-minute beginner’s Pilates class, or 168 calories at an advanced class of the same duration. Although Pilates may not burn as many calories as aerobic exercises like running, many people find it enjoyable, which makes it easier to stick to over time. An 8-week study in 37 middle-aged women found that performing Pilates exercises for 90 minutes 3 times per week significantly reduced waist, stomach, and hip circumference, compared with a control group that did no exercise over the same period. Pilates is a great beginner-friendly exercise that can help you lose weight while improving other areas of your physical fitness, such as strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.