Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on April 23, 2021
Exercise? Me?

Exercise? Me?

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Losing weight happens by not only changing your eating habits, but also stepping up your exercise routine. Regular exercise will go a long way in achieving your goals. To lose weight, you should aim to get at least 300 minutes of moderately intense activity each week. Here are some exercises that can help you on that journey. Just remember to first talk with your doctor about which ones might be best for you.

Walking

Walking

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If you were to add half an hour of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories than you usually do each day. The faster and longer you walk, the more calories you burn. Walking is a great option if you’re new to regular exercise. Start with shorter journeys and build up to longer, more intense ones.

Jumping Rope

Jumping Rope

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If you’re looking for a cheap piece of workout equipment you’ll be able to take on trips, a jump-rope just might be for you. Jumping rope is a fantastic way to burn calories fast. In fact, you’ll burn more of them by jumping rope than walking on a treadmill for the same amount of time. You'll also work multiple muscle groups, from your core to your upper and lower body. Jumping rope can also improve your coordination.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

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High-intensity interval training (also called HIIT) is a type of workout that switches back and forth from intense physical activity to less-intense exercise. You shouldn't do it every day, but it's very effective for weight loss because HIIT makes your body use energy from fat instead of carbs. You’ll also burn more calories with HIIT than with steady cardio. The intense exercise keeps your body working and in fat-burning mode for up to 24 hours after your workout ends.

Cycling

Cycling

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Cycling is another great way to lose weight, and it’s a low-impact, adaptable exercise. You can burn about 400-750 calories an hour riding a bike, depending on your weight, how fast you’re going, and what type of cycling you’re doing.

Swimming

Swimming

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It can be hard to be motivated to work out if your knees are achy or your back hurts. If you're in that boat, swimming is an ideal exercise. It's easy on your joints, you’ll use both your upper and lower body, and you'll get a good cardio workout. You’ll reap the benefits from the resistance of the water, too. If you swim for a half-hour a few times a week, you’ll lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. It'll also bring down your bad cholesterol and blood pressure.

Strength Training

Strength Training

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This type of exercise uses resistance to build strength and muscle. It not only helps you lose weight, but also helps you keep the weight off by building muscle. That'll help your body burn more fat. Try to do some strength training 3-5 times a week, for about an hour each time. Don’t forget to rest a day between every 2 days that you do it.

Pilates

Pilates

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Research says that Pilates -- exercises usually done on a mat or with various tools that emphasize core strength -- can make you stronger and help you keep a healthy weight. The intensity of a Pilates class depends on your needs. You can find some classes or demonstrations online or at your local gym.

Jogging

Jogging

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Jogging is an aerobic exercise -- it uses oxygen. This can help you lose weight. A good jog can also raise something called your metabolic rate for up to 24 hours. So, you’ll be in fat-burning mode even after you’ve crossed your daily finish line. Done regularly, jogging can help boost your metabolism for a long period of time.

Yoga

Yoga

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This is a practice that combines physical activity and meditation. It’s a popular way to practice mindfulness after a long day at work, too. But the benefits don’t stop there. Research suggests that over time, people who are overweight and do yoga at least once a week for 30 minutes lose weight and have lower BMIs. Folks who do yoga are also more mindful eaters, meaning they’re more likely to know when they're truly hungry and when they’re full.

Stair Climbing

Stair Climbing

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Another low-cost, versatile exercise for weight loss is stair climbing. Although you could use a machine, all you really need for this exercise is a trusty set of stairs. Climbing just two flights of stairs every day can lead to 6 pounds of weight loss in a year. It can also add to the amount of good cholesterol in your blood and help keep your joints, muscles, and bones healthy.

Hiking

Hiking

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If you’re looking for a more adventurous way of losing weight, hiking might be the move for you. It usually involves walking in nature and avoiding the obstacles around you, like tree roots and rocks. Hiking can lead to weight loss, especially if you do it regularly.

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SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Can I lose weight if my only exercise is walking?”

Piedmont Healthcare: “4 reasons you should jump rope for exercise.”

YMCA of Greater Cincinnati: “Top 5 Benefits of HIIT Workouts.”

Obesity Action Coalition: “Swimming for Weight-loss.”

Beaumont Hospital: “Cardiovascular Training Vs. Strength Training for Weight Loss.”

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness: “The effect of Pilates exercise on body composition in sedentary overweight and obese women.”

National Health Service (U.K.): “A guide to pilates.”

Georgia Highlands College: “Walking and Jogging for Fitness.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Yoga -- Benefits Beyond the Mat.”

Duke: “Benefits of Taking the Stairs.”

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine: “Hiking.”