What Are the Best Exercises to Lose Weight?

Exercise for weight loss

A lot of people wonder what are the best exercises to lose weight, and this is a great question!

Let’s start with the basics.

Exercise helps you lose weight, because it makes you burn calories.

Burning more calories than you consume results in your body using stored fat for energy.  Over time, this results in weight loss.

When considering what exercises to do, it is natural to wonder which ones will help you lose the most weight.

It may surprise you to learn that there isn’t an actual best routine.  Rather, there are different types of exercises that produce different results for your body.

You need a combination of exercises to lose the most weight.  This is especially helpful when working out in your target heart range (more on that below).

Understanding Exercise

At this point you might picturing push-ups, jumping jacks or bench presses.

While they are all legitimate, they are only the tip of the iceberg!

Really, exercise is any movement that requires physical effort.  Especially with the intent to improve health or fitness.

Any activity that results in increased physical effort requires your body to use more energy.  This, of course, burns calories.  When you do this consistently done overtime, it results in weight loss.

Exercise is typically classified into two categories: aerobic and anaerobic.  Either category will result in weight loss.  But  a program that incorporates components of both anaerobic and aerobic workouts  will give you the best results.

Target Heart Rate for Weight Loss

Exercising in your target heart rate range means your intensity results in a heart rate that is between 65% and 85% of your maximum heart rate.  This is the range most effective for achieving overall health.

Target heart rate varies by age. To determine your target heart rate range, use the following formula (the example provided is for someone 30 years old):

Subtract your age from 220 (220-30 = 190)
Multiply that number by .65 and .85 (190 x .65 = 124; 190 x .85 = 162)
Target Heart Range = 124 to 162 beats per minute.

A 30-year old has a target heart rate range between 124 and 162 beats per minute. This means that when exercising, to maximize results, this person should be at a sustained period with their heart rate between 124 and 162 beats per minute.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic or “cardio” exercises are those that require your heart to beat faster.  This increases the amount of oxygen delivered to the muscles.  This kind of activity is usually accompanied by increased breathing and heart rate.  Oh, and a lot of sweating 🙂

When you hear the words aerobic or cardio, think jogging, cycling or swimming.  Anything that works your heart and lungs for a sustained period of time (at least 20 minutes).

Aerobic exercises increase oxygen to the muscles.  Like air on a fire, this increases the amount of carbohydrate and fat calories burned by the muscles.

As your heart, lungs and muscles become stronger, they become more effective consumers of oxygen.  This will cause you to burn more calories and lose more weight (yay!).

An effective aerobic program involves at least 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercises.  Try walking, jogging or biking, at least three times a week.

Beginners may need to work up to 20 minutes.  More advanced  people need to work out for a longer period of time (or increase the intensity of the workout).

Anaerobic Exercise

The term “anaerobic” literally means without oxygen.

Anaerobic exercises are those that do not require oxygen to produce energy.

Think more along the lines of strength training or working out on nautilus machines.

Although these workouts do not require oxygen to produce energy, they are still effective in burning calories and losing weight.

Anaerobic exercises help you build lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism.  This means your muscles are burning more calories while at rest.  That means that you’ll naturally burn more calories when you are NOT working out.

Aim for a full body anaerobic workout at least twice a week.  Make sure to complete at least 2 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions for each body part.

Bottom Line

Well, there really are no specific best exercises to lose weight.

What you need for effective weight loss is a combination of heart-pumping aerobic exercise and muscle-building anaerobic exercises.  Pair this with a healthy, well-rounded diet, and watch that fat melt off!

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Got questions?  Let me know below.


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