When you work hard to get fit and lose weight, you want a routine that offers the best results. And you don’t even need to become a gym rat; Studies show that shorter periods of exercise are more effective for fat loss. But what type of exercise burns the most calories?
Cardio, of course, will burn cals. Running on a treadmill will burn 25 to 39% more calories than doing kettlebell shifts at the same level of effort, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. But your best bet for losing weight is a routine that combines cardio and strength.
Yes, if you walk or run like crazy with no results, building muscle may be the key to unlocking the scale. Why? Muscles are metabolically active, so they burn calories even when you don’t exercise. To adapt cardio and strength to your workout, consider interval training.
It is estimated that half of all American adults try to lose weight each year. In addition to diet, exercise is one of the most common strategies used by those trying to lose 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 better mood, stronger bones, and a lower risk of many chronic diseases. Here are the 8 best exercises to lose weight.
Walking is one of the best exercises for weight loss, and for good reason. It is a convenient and easy way for beginners to start exercising without feeling overwhelmed or buying equipment. Plus, it’s a low-impact exercise, which means it doesn’t stress your joints.
According to Harvard Health, an estimated 155-pound (70-kg) person burns about 167 calories for every 30-minute walk at a moderate rate of 4 mph (6.4 km / h).
A 12-week study of 20 obese women found that walking 50 to 70 minutes 3 times a week reduced body fat and waist circumference by an average of 1.5% and 1.1 inches (2.8 cm), respectively.
It is easy to fit walking into your daily routine. To add more steps to your day, try walking during lunch, climbing the stairs to work, or taking your dog for additional walks. To start, try walking for 30 minutes 3–4 times a week. You can gradually increase the length or frequency of your walks as you get fitter.
2. Jogging or running
Jogging and running are great exercises to help you lose weight. Although they look 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 for a 30-minute jog at a rate of 5 mph (8 km / h), or 372 calories for a 30-minute jog at 6 mph. (9.7 km / h) pace.
Additionally, studies have found that running and jogging can help burn harmful visceral fat, commonly known as abdominal fat. This type of fat wraps around your internal organs and has been linked to various chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Both jogging and running are great exercises that can be done anywhere and are easy to incorporate into your weekly routine. To start, try running for 20–30 minutes 3–4 times a week. If you find jogging or running outdoors difficult for your joints, try running on softer surfaces like grass. Also, many treadmills have built-in cushioning, which can be easier on your joints.
Cycling is a popular exercise that improves your fitness and can help you lose weight. Although cycling is traditionally done outdoors, many gyms and gyms have stationary bikes that allow you to ride a bike while staying indoors.
Harvard Health estimates that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns about 260 calories for 30 minutes of cycling on a stationary bike at a moderate pace, or 298 calories for 30 minutes on a bike at a moderate rate of 12-13.9 mph. (19–22.4 km / h).
Not only is cycling great for losing weight, 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 to those who do not cycle regularly. Cycling is ideal for people of all fitness levels, from beginners to athletes. Plus, it’s a low-impact, weightless exercise, so you won’t be putting too much stress on your joints.
4. Weight training
Weight training is a popular option for people looking to lose weight. According to Harvard Health, an estimated 155-pound (70-kg) person burns approximately 112 calories for 30 minutes of weight training.
Additionally, weight training can help you build strength and promote muscle growth, which can increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR) or the amount of calories your body burns at rest.
A 6-month study showed that simply doing 11 minutes of strength-based exercise 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.
Another study found that 24 weeks of weight training led to a 9% increase in metabolic rate among men, equivalent to burning approximately 140 more calories per day. Among women, the increase in metabolic rate was almost 4%, or 50 more calories per day.
Additionally, numerous studies have shown that your body continues to burn calories for many hours after a weight training workout, compared to aerobic exercise.
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. Generally, a HIIT workout lasts 10 to 30 minutes and can burn a lot of calories.
A study of 9 active men found that HIIT burned 25-30% more calories per minute than other types of exercise, 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 in burning abdominal fat, which is linked to many chronic diseases.
HIIT is easy to incorporate into your exercise routine. All you need to do is choose a type of exercise, such as running, jumping, or biking, and your exercise and rest times.
For example, pedal as hard as you can on a bicycle for 30 seconds followed by pedaling at a slow pace for 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat this pattern for 10-30 minutes.
Swimming is a fun way to lose weight and get fit. Harvard Health estimates that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns approximately 233 calories per half-hour of swimming.
The way nothing seems to affect how many calories you burn. Every 30 minutes, a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns 298 calories by doing a backstroke, 372 calories by doing a chest punch, 409 calories by doing a butterfly, and 372 calories by stepping on water.
A 12-week study of 24 middle-aged women found that swimming for 60 minutes 3 times a week significantly reduced body fat, improved flexibility, and reduced several risk factors for heart disease, including high total cholesterol and triglycerides in blood.
Another advantage of swimming is its low impact nature, which means it is easier on your joints. This makes it an excellent choice for people who have joint pain or injury.
Yoga is a popular way to exercise and relieve stress. While not commonly viewed as a weight-loss exercise, it burns a fair amount of calories and offers many additional health benefits that can promote weight loss. Harvard Health estimates that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns about 149 calories for 30 minutes of practicing yoga.
A 12-week study of 60 obese women found that those who participated in two 90-minute yoga sessions per week experienced greater reductions in waist circumference than those in the control group, by 1.5 inches (3.8 cm), on average. Additionally, the yoga group experienced improvements in mental and physical well-being.
In addition to burning calories, studies have shown that yoga can teach mindfulness, which can help you resist unhealthy foods, control overeating, and better understand your body’s hunger cues.
Most gyms offer yoga classes, but you can practice yoga anywhere. This includes from the comfort of your own home, as there are many guided online tutorials.
Pilates is a great beginner exercise that can 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 in a 30-minute beginner Pilates class, or 168 calories in an advanced class of the same duration (26 ). Although Pilates may not burn as many calories as aerobics like running, many people enjoy it, making it easier to keep up with time.
An 8-week study of 37 middle-aged women found that exercising Pilates for 90 minutes 3 times a week significantly reduced waist, stomach, and hip circumference, compared to a control group that did not exercise for the same period.
In addition to weight loss, Pilates has been shown to reduce low back pain and improve your strength, balance, flexibility, endurance, and overall fitness level. If you want to try Pilates, try incorporating it into your weekly routine. You can do Pilates at home or at one of the many gyms that offer Pilates classes.
To further increase weight loss with Pilates, combine it with a healthy diet or other forms of exercise, such as weight training or cardio.
How much weight can you realistically expect to lose?
The amount of weight you can expect to lose from exercise depends on many factors.
- Starting Weight: People who weigh more tend to lose more pounds than people who weigh less. Still, the percentage of body weight loss is similar.
- Age: Older people tend to carry more fat and less muscle mass, which reduces their RMR or the amount of calories their body burns at rest. A lower RMR can hinder weight loss.
- Gender: Women tend to have a higher fat-to-muscle ratio than men, which can affect their RMR. As a result, men tend to lose weight faster than women, even if they consume a similar amount of calories.
- Diet: Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume. Therefore, a calorie deficit is essential for weight loss.
- Sleep: Studies have found that lack of sleep can decrease the speed at which you lose weight and even increase your cravings for unhealthy foods.
- Medical conditions: People with medical conditions like depression and hypothyroidism can lose weight at a slower rate.
- Genetics: Studies have shown that weight loss has a genetic component that can affect certain obese people.
Although most people want to lose weight quickly, experts often recommend losing 1–3 pounds (0.5–1.36 kg), or about 1% of your body weight, per week. Losing weight too quickly can have negative health consequences. For example, it can lead to muscle loss and increase the risk of conditions such as gallstones, dehydration, fatigue, malnutrition, headaches, irritability, constipation, hair loss, and irregular periods.
Also, people who lose weight too quickly are more likely to regain it. It is important to note that weight loss is not a linear process, and it is common for you to lose weight more quickly when you first start.
The bottom line
Many exercises can help you lose weight. Some great calorie burning options include walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, weight training, interval training, yoga, and Pilates. With that said, many other exercises can also help you increase your weight loss efforts. It is very important to choose an exercise that you like to do. This makes it more likely that you will maintain it for the long term and see results.