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The Best Exercise for Weight Loss

Get the most weight loss benefits out of your time spent exercising

If you’re going to start exercising with the goal of losing weight, then you want to choose the most effective exercise for weight loss.

That’s not to say you should do a type of exercise you hate. It’s important to find something you love so you feel happy to have exercise as part of your routine.

But if you’re newer to exercise, or just haven’t in a while, then you may be wondering what’s the best exercise for weight loss.

Well, you’re in luck, because there’s not just one best exercise to lose weight. There are plenty of options to choose from.

So if you’re looking for something to try for your new weight loss plan, give these calorie-burning exercises a try first to figure out what exercise you enjoy most.

Exercises to burn the most calories:

When your goal is to lose weight, you want to find exercises that burn the most calories.

Or in other words, make you to use the most energy to get through the exercise and recover from it.

The key is to get your heart rate up and keep it elevated for as long as is safely possible.

For that reason, cardio workouts are the best for losing more calories in one training session.

So it should come as no surprise then that many of the exercises we list here for weight loss are cardio-based.

Below are some of the best workouts to burn the most calories:

Running:

It’s likely that the first type of exercise that comes to mind when you think of cardio and losing weight is running.

Even looking at pictures of runners, you can assume that running must be great for keeping weight off–most of them are so thin!

So it’s true that running is great for your heart health and for burning calories.

Depending on your pace you can expect to burn between 648–960 calories in one hour of running.

That’s a ton of calories.

Swimming: 

Swimming is fabulous because it’s great exercise but doesn’t always feel like it. The water lets you feel weightless and able to move freely. Plus, if you love the water there’s something soothing about it too.

So it’s exciting that something so fun can also be such a great exercise for weight loss.

You can burn anywhere from 369–588 calories in one hour of swimming.

Cycling:

Whether you sign up for a spin class or take out your bike for street riding, this is a great exercise for weight loss.

There are plenty of people who swear by their cycling classes, not just for the calories burned, but also for the energy and enthusiasm infused in every session.

Depending on your rate it’s possible to burn 420-622 calories in a one-hour session.

HIIT:

HIIT workouts are one of the best options if burning the most calories is your goal.

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. And the way it works is you do shorter workouts ranging from 20-40 minutes. During these workouts, you alternate between high bursts of energy and longer rest periods.

So for example, you do might 30 sections of high-intensity exercise followed by 45 seconds of rest before you start the next 30-second round. This is the usual pattern of a HIIT workout.

How many calories can this type of exercise burn for you? Around 450 calories in 30 minutes.

That’s right—almost as much as running burns in an hour. 

It’s honestly staggering how great HIIT is for burning calories. And it’s a big part of the reason why it’s become so popular all over the country.

And another great thing about HIIT is that it’s possible to combine cardio and some strength training in one workout. So you get the best of both worlds.

Because there are major benefits of strength training and building muscle to help you lose weight. 

Want to burn more calories at rest?

Exercising at all will help boost your metabolism. So your body will start burning more energy even when you aren’t active.

But there’s one type of exercise that improves your metabolism above all others: strength training. 

When you lift weights (or use bodyweight) to build muscle you make it possible for your body to burn more calories at rest.

How?

Because muscle uses more energy than fat.

The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories your body uses—even at rest.

So if you want an exercise that does more for you throughout the day and not just when you’re exercising, then make sure you include strength training in your routine.

But you don’t need to lift weights every single day to see these effects.

Even two or three times per week is enough to see improvement over time. 

Need your exercise to be low impact?

But you may be thinking that some of the activities are too intense for where you’re starting out. And that’s okay—we all come from different starting points and have different needs.

That doesn’t mean exercise is impossible for you.

You can start by simply walking.

Walking is the best place to start if exercise feels unattainable for you.

Will you burn quite as many calories in an hour as other forms of exercise? Of course not. But you can burn around 186-276 calories when walking at a moderate pace for one hour. It’s definitely possible to burn even more than that depending on your pace and how far you choose to walk every day. 

And you will be amazed by what’s possible when you start walking and stick with it over time.

It works when you’re consistent and patient with yourself and your body. But the results do come. 

Making Exercise Consistent Is Key

While you now have an idea of the best exercise for weight loss, that doesn’t mean you should force yourself to do activities you don’t enjoy.

If you hate running, or any other type of exercise listed here, it’s not going to be the best way to lose weight for you.

The most important thing when it comes to exercise is to find a type of exercise that you enjoy most.

It could be dancing, tennis, golf, basketball, hiking, or any number of other activities. The key is to find the right exercise for you. And the weight loss will follow in time.

When you work with us at Valley Medical Weight Loss we help you get a plan for exercise that works for you and your goals. We pair your exercise plan with a diet plan and check-in to make sure you get the best results possible. 

Learn more about working with a weight loss doctor who can help you make your weight loss goals a reality.

Sources:

  1. “12 Exercises That Burn the Most Calories.” Healthline, 2019, www.healthline.com/health/what-exercise-burns-the-most-calories#at-home.
  2. Glantz, Jen. “5 Women Explain How Walking Helped Them Finally Lose the Weight.” Women’s Health, Women’s Health, 22 Oct. 2019, www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/g19917712/lose-weight-by-walking/. 

By Jodi Jaffe

October 14, 2020

Lifestyle, Weight Loss

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