What is The Best Exercise for Losing Weight?

Getting a healthy and balanced diet can work wonders when it comes to shedding any unwanted weight. Which is why focusing on a weight loss meal plan can really keep you get on the right track in terms of your nutritional and calorie intake. However, as well as what you eat, exercising is one of the best strategies to achieve weight loss.

Exercise not only helps you burn through calories, it’s also linked to a number of other benefits too; including strengthening your bones, reducing your risk of certain chronic diseases, and improving your whole mood and mindset.

Certain exercises though are arguably better than others when it comes to weight loss specifically. Is there truly one best exercise for losing weight? Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ones to find out…

Start going for walks

This may sound surprising, but simply going for a walk is actually one of the best exercises you can do to achieve your weight loss goals. If your new when it comes to working out, then walking is a quick and convenient way to start exercising. It won’t leave you feeling suddenly overwhelmed, or needing to join a gym or buy equipment. Walking is also a low impact exercise, which means it won’t put any extra stress on your joints.

One Harvard Health study found that a person who weighs 70kg, would burn approximately 167 calories after thirty minutes of walking at a pace of around four mph.

Walking can easily fit into your daily schedule or routine, and as you start fitting it in more you can then begin adding more steps. Use gaps in the day, like your lunch break, to get more steps in. You could even start taking the stairs more in situations where you would normally use a lift. If you own a dog, then this is the perfect excuse to go for some extra walks during the week. When you’re starting out, aim for 30 minute walking sessions, around 3 times per week. Gradually increasing this as you go.

Work in some weight training

Weight training is actually one of the most popular choices for people looking to shed weight. This type of exercise can help you to build muscle and enhance your strength, which in turn raises your resting metabolic rate (RMR). You RMR relates to how many calories your body burns through while you’re at rest.

A study found that men saw their metabolic rate increase by 9% after doing weight training over twenty four weeks. This equated to burning approximately 140 extra calories a day. The rate increase for women was almost 4%, meaning they were burning 50 more calories per day.

Many studies into the positive effects of weight training have shown that your body will continue to burn through calories hours after you finished a weight training workout. This wouldn’t be the case with aerobic exercise.

Consider compound exercises

A compound exercise is essentially an exercise that works multiple muscle groups at once, such as doing squats, which workout your quadriceps, glutes, and calves at the same time.

These exercises are excellent when it comes to weight loss, and our PrepPerfect athlete, PT and blogger, Vicky Hadley recommends them:

“In my opinion when someone is looking to lose weight I would tend to recommend they do compound exercises.”

“… a squat or deadlift is a compound movement, as your quads, glutes, abs and hamstrings all take part. Therefore it will use more energy and burn more calories per rep than an isolated exercise, such as a bicep curl or abdominal crunch, which only uses one primary muscle; the abdominals or the bicep.”

Isolated exercises, like traditional bicep curls, can be beneficial for strengthening certain muscles or rehabilitating them after injury, but they’re just not as effective for weight loss. Plus, you can even do compound exercises that combine two different exercises into one move, such as performing a lunge with a bicep curl, to target more of your body.

Hone in on HIIT

Interval training, also more widely known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is extremely effective for weight loss, and Vicky agrees:

“Another great way to lose weight is HIIT training… this will burn a higher amount of calories due to the fact you are working at such a high intensity. Great HIIT exercises can include: KettleBells Swings, Sprints and Squat Jumps to name a few.”

Doing sudden bursts of intense exercise then alternating with short recovery periods is what HIIT is all about. A typical HIIT workout would last from 10 to 30 minutes, in which time you can end up burning through a lot of calories.

A study of nine active men found that they burned 25 to 30% more calories a minute through HIIT than other types of exercises, such as weight training or running on a treadmill.

Essentially, HIIT can help you burn off more calories even though you’re technically spending less time exercising. Various studies have also shown how HIIT is particularly effective when it comes to losing belly fat, which is linked to many chronic diseases.

All you have to do to take advantage of this great weight loss strategy, is to choose a type of exercise; such as running, jumping, or biking. Then attack the exercise as hard as you can for
30 seconds followed by 1–2 minutes going at a slower pace. Simply rinse and repeat this for 10 to 30 minutes.

You could try yoga

Yoga is a hugely popular way to achieve certain weight loss goals and relieve stress at the same time. It’s not commonly thought of as a weight loss exercise, but it can burn a surprising amount of calories, while offering a number of other health benefits too.

A Harvard Health study estimated that a person who weighs around 7a0kg would burn approximately 149 calories after doing thirty minutes of yoga.

As well as burning calories, yoga is also used as a workout for the mind too, having proven to improve both mental and physical well-being. Focusing on mindfulness can help you to better resist any unhealthy junk food and control overeating. You don’t even have to join a gym class, as you can practice yoga anywhere, including in the comfort of your own home.

So to summarise

The truth is there’s no one single great exercise for weight loss, in fact there are many ways to achieve your goals, and the examples listed above are just some of the most effective exercise techniques. What you choose to do is down to your own personal preferences, just make sure you choose the exercise(s) you’re most comfortable with.

When it comes to the foods you eat alongside your exercise routine, we’ve got you covered. At Prep, you can choose from any of our weight loss meal plans – all of which are designed to help you reach your goals without the stress of knowing what food to buy and cook. Tasty, nutritiously rich meals, tailored for weight loss, will be delivered straight to your door. Leaving you to focus on burning those calories each day.