Congratulations! If you are reading this, then you have made a decision to take steps towards becoming the best possible version of you!
There are many different ways to lose weight, but incorporating exercise shows a commitment to your overall health, beyond just your appearance. Plus, when you exercise while dieting, you can watch in amazement as you shed pounds, revealing newly formed muscles that give your body shape and tone.
Some forms of exercise can actually jumpstart your metabolic system, helping your body learn how to burn fat and calories. Sweating and moving also keep your lymphatic system refreshed and renewed. Regular exercise keeps you feeling good overall, and positive about your commitment to your own health and well being, which provides motivation to continue with your diet or weight loss program.
But not all forms of exercise are created equal. Some come with a price tag; the cost of classes, or joining a gym.
Some specialized exercise programs require expensive equipment or are based on less accessible environments. And others may not fit your body’s needs, taking a toll on joints and exacerbating back pain and other physical sore spots.
That is why it is important to choose an exercise method that is right for your weight, age, and skill level. It’s also important to choose a method that you can stick with, despite changes in weather and financial flexibility, and that suits your schedule.
Therefore, we have compiled a list of the top forms of exercise for weight loss, taking into account cost, convenience, and safety.
And of course, it’s important to remember; you won’t lose weight without reducing your caloric intake. I can, and have, lost significant weight during a period of heartbreak where I lost my appetite, and my back was so painful I simply could not exercise.
Still, the pounds melted away. Once my heart and my back were healed, I decided that I wanted to lose weight in a life embracing way. This meant eating regular, frequent, small meals, and getting good exercise every day.
I was able to reach my ideal weight without self-punishing starvation diets, and exercise is a big part of feeling good! Exercise is actually one of the main recommendations for depression, and the happier and more positive you feel about life, the more you will want to eat well and eat to live.
Walking is simply a wonderful form of exercise, and probably my personal favorite. Find a walking partner, and help one another to stay on track by sticking to a regular schedule. Seek out a nice place to walk, that is beautiful and refreshing, or integrate walking into your life whenever possible, going by foot instead of by car to take care of errands, or get from A to B. Walking on a flat surface is relatively easy on your body, and you can set your pace, building stamina and strength with each walk session.
Pluses: Walking is free, easy on the body, and easy to get started.
Minuses: Not great for rainy days, or extreme heat or cold.
You will not burn as many calories walking as some other, more intensive exercise methods, but, the accessibility of walking can help you sustain an ongoing regimen.
Pick a form of exercise you enjoy, if you want to keep it up over time. Dancing brings so much joy, whether you just put on music at home and dance around, or join a dance class, or go out dancing at night.
The combination of music and movement will quickly release endorphins that stimulate pleasure experiences and get you connecting to your body in a positive way. The amount of calories you burn with really varies with the form, intensity, and duration of your dancing session, but the good news is that dancing can be addictive in a good way.
Once you get into, the time can fly, making a longer session pass quickly, and leaving you with an elevated mood. Dancing is also a way to exercise while connecting with other people, which might suit you just fine.
Pluses: Can be free. It can be a way to connect with people. It can elevate your mood.
Minuses: Can cost if pay for classes or to get into a club or concert.
Running can burn a great deal of calories for the time it takes. Therefore, if you are time-limited, running can be a good fit.
However, not all of us are up for the task. Those of us with knee or back injuries or sensitivity might find the high impact of running too painful.
So, use caution if you are starting a running regimen for the first time. Consult with your doctor to make sure that running is the right form of exercise for you.
One approach is to gradually introduce running into a walking practice, by walking as fast as you can, and then breaking into short runs, to get your body used to the impact of running. Advance runners might try uphill courses; most of us will want to stick to level ground.
Pluses: Free. High-calorie burn per hour.Minuses: Hard on the body, and weather dependant.
Pilates can be a great workout for a number of reasons, despite the fact that it burns fewer calories per session when compared to other workout methods. This is because it builds core strength and tones your body, making it a good support to keep you in shape for other kinds of exercise.
Plus, Pilates feels great, which means you will want to keep doing it regularly, and integrates a lot of stretching, which will keep your body supple and healthy overall.
Pluses: Feels great, tones muscles, improves strength, and keeps you feeling good overall.
Minuses: Lower calorie burn per session.
Interval training provides the highest calorie burn per hour of probably any method. Short bursts of intensive effort, punctuated by recovery periods with more gentle supportive movements, create a high-calorie burn. For example, jumping jacks for a couple of minutes, followed by walking in place.
You can find many programs for interval training both online and at your local gym.
Pluses: Highest Calorie burn!
Minuses: Hard. Takes the effort and requires a minimum level of fitness and health.
These five recommendations are our favorites. Other great exercise methods for weight loss including cycling, swimming, and movement classes like Zumba or aerobics.
Choose the one (or two) that best fits your budget, your physical condition, and your heart’s desire. By picking an exercise method that you love, you will be ensuring that you continue, and consistency is key for getting results: weight loss, health improvement, metabolic jump start, and endurance. Good luck! Happy training.