by Jessica Thomas, Personal Trainer
If you want to lose weight, you’ve got to burn more calories than you consume throughout the day. Trying to find the best exercise for weight loss? The answer is to choose those exercises that burn fat efficiently. Let me show you how!
To begin with, weight loss exercise falls into two main categories:
Each type of exercise affects your body in a different way, so they should be looked at separately to determine which is best for weight loss.
An aerobic exercise program consists of various forms of cardiovascular exercise performed three to five days per week. For each session lasting 30 minutes at moderate intensity, you will burn around 300 calories. Remember that aerobic exercise involves large muscle groups, and is done for an extended period of time.
Aerobic exercise trains the heart and lungs, making them stronger. While aerobic exercise is good for weight loss, it also provides cardiovascular benefits. Some good examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, biking, swimming and aerobic classes.
On the other hand, anaerobic exercise mainly refers to resistance training like lifting weights. The purpose of anaerobic exercise is to prevent muscle loss and also to increase muscle mass. Weight training is one of the most popular types of anaerobic exercise.
While aerobic exercise is great for burning calories, a strength-training session will burn only half the calories of a cardio session. The reason is that while doing aerobics, your heart and muscles are working continuously, whereas in the strength training session you are resting between sets.
Aerobic classes are popular for middle-aged men and women trying to lose weight. However if a person is overweight or out of shape, the class may become too intense for proper fat burning, especially if you are trying to keep up with the other class members.
If you are trying to do too much, heavy breathing will result, which means carbohydrates become the body’s predominant fuel, reducing the percentage of fat burn.
When choosing the best exercises for weight loss for men, a good balance between the percentage of fat and the total calories is key. In addition, it’s important to raise your overall metabolic rate.
Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the minimum number of calories needed to fuel the body functions required for daily life. When you exercise, your RMR increases due to chemical and hormonal changes and remains elevated for awhile after you are finished.
Anaerobic exercise like weight training creates more muscle mass, which means a higher resting metabolic rate. In other words, your metabolism gradually becomes fat-burning.
While cardiovascular activities like jogging burn more calories immediately, strength training raises your body’s overall resting metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more fat.
For seniors, the best exercise for weight loss and toning can be a combination of walking and stretching. This is something that can be done anywhere, and is often the best exercise for weight loss at home.
Walking to lose weight not only burns a good proportion of stored fat it can also burn a large amount of calories if the walks are long or done at a brisk pace.
Walking is a great place to start for men or women of any age wanting to improve their health. As your endurance increases, you can add in more challenging aerobic and anaerobic exercises like those described above.
At the end of the day, balance is key. When choosing an exercise plan, it’s best to include a combination of both cardio and strength training. This way you will receive both calorie burn and metabolism boost, which will enable you to achieve weight loss more quickly.
In addition, be sure to eat a balanced diet of healthy carbohydrates, protein and fat. Exercise burns carbs, so don’t skimp on this important area of nutrition. Here’s wishing you weight loss success!
Research shows that even the most sedentary of people can realize significant health benefits by doing just 30 minutes per day of exercise or other physical activity.
For maximum health benefits, weight loss experts suggest 30 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate intensity at least five days a week. In addition, some form of anaerobic exercise like muscle training and stretching should be performed at least two to three times a week.
For those individuals who have been sedentary for an extended period, it’s important to start with less strenuous activities such as walking or swimming at a gentle pace.
Starting out at a slow pace will allow a person to become physically fit without putting a lot of stress on the body. As a person’s fitness level improves, more strenuous physical activities can be included.
Before starting any exercise program, it’s best to consult with your doctor to make sure there are no health issues. Your doctor may also be able to recommend a suitable exercise program for your particular level of fitness. This will allow you to increase your overall fitness while losing weight at the same time.
(published February 4, 2010)