Many people struggle with their weight; diets can cause some loss, but that weight will often be gained straight back once normal eating patterns are resumed. Exercise is the most reliable way of losing weight and keeping it off; but it can be difficult to decide what are the best exercises for weight loss.
Anyone planning to embark on an exercise regime should consider their fitness levels and age. There is no benefit to taking on a plan of exercise which is beyond the abilities of the exerciser. If exercise has not been done for many years, for example a sedentary office job with a car-ride to and from work, then the most commonly used exercises for weight loss may not be suitable.
It is also necessary to consider what is the intention of taking exercise; is it merely to lose a few pounds, or does the person also want to boost their general health, reduce heart problems, or diminish the risk of vascular problems and diabetes? A cardio fitness regime can combine the best exercises for weight loss with improvement in fitness and cardiovascular systems.
Walking is one of the best exercises for weight loss for sedentary people; begin with a daily walk of about 30 minutes, and then build up to a 45 minute daily walk. Improvements in health and fitness should become clear after only a few weeks; and walking is a relatively risk-free activity.
Once walking has begun improving the health, it is time to consider adding to the range of exercises. Regular fitness regimes should contain a combination of both aerobic or cardio work outs, the best exercises for weight loss, and strength training, which builds muscles and encourages the metabolism.
A good aerobic exercise for weight loss is running: a regular program of running burns more calories than other kinds of aerobic exercise; it produces endorphins which improve feelings of well-being and help reduce stress, and can boost general health, lowering risks of diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol.
When struggling to lose weight, many people concentrate upon aerobic exercise and ignore the benefits of a strength-training program. This is a mistake, as even a light amount of resistance training, done regularly, an improve the resting metabolic rate, a rise in metabolism which encourages greater burning of calories even when sitting down.
Cardio alone can build this metabolic rate up, and it lasts for about three hours after the exercise; but with strength training, this resting metabolic rate can stay higher for between 10 and 15 hours. In addition, strength and resistance training create more muscles, muscle is the most metabolically active of all the bodyís systems, so the more muscle you have, the more rapidly you burn calories.
A combination of running and weight training are the best exercises for losing weight and keeping it off; begin with a low-impact walking regime if necessary, and remember to build muscle each week in order to benefit from a rise in resting metabolic rate. Aerobic and resistance training together help the body burn more calories and fat.
photo: Christopher Campbell