Best Exercises for Weight Loss – Effective Workout Routines

best exercises for weight loss

With the sun’s warmth on her face, Samantha tied her sneakers and headed out. She was ready to tackle her weight loss journey head on. So, she looked for the perfect exercises to reach her goals.

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Working out helps you burn more calories and lose weight. It’s a go-to for many on a weight loss journey. Plus, it makes you feel good, strengthens your bones, and cuts your chances of getting some diseases.

Do you like cardio, HIIT, or strength training? There’s a wide range of exercises to help you slim down. You can pick from bodyweight moves to aerobic sessions and interval training. The key is finding what works for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Exercising is a common and effective strategy for weight loss, as it burns calories and offers numerous other health benefits.
  • Different types of exercises, such as cardio, HIIT, and strength training, can all contribute to weight loss in their own ways.
  • Incorporating a variety of exercises into your routine can help boost your metabolism and maximize your calorie-burning potential.
  • Finding the right combination of exercises that you enjoy and can stick to in the long-term is key to sustainable weight loss.
  • Pairing your exercise routine with a balanced, calorie-deficit diet is essential for successful and healthy weight loss.

Walking: A Beginner-Friendly Exercise for Weight Loss

Walking is a great way to start exercising, especially if you’re a beginner. Plus, it doesn’t require you to buy any fancy gear. It’s an easy lower-impact exercise that won’t hurt your joints. This makes it perfect for those taking the first steps in their weight loss journey. Walking is accessible and has many health benefits. It’s good for burning calories and losing weight.

Health Benefits of Walking

Walking for weight loss can boost your health in several ways. It strengthens your heart, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Besides, walking makes you feel happier, improves your sleep, and strengthens your bones. So, it’s a great all-around exercise.

How Many Calories Can You Burn by Walking?

The calories burned walking depends on how much you weigh, how fast you walk, and how long you walk. For example, a 140-pound person might burn about 7.6 calories a minute. Yet, someone who weighs 180 pounds could burn 9.7 calories each minute. In a 12-week study, people who walked 50-70 minutes, three times a week lost body fat and reduced their waist circumference. On average, they lost 1.5% of their body fat and 1.1 inches around their waist.

Getting Started with Walking for Weight Loss

If you’re starting with walking for weight loss, try to walk for 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week. As you get more used to it, you can walk longer or more often. Start with short 10-15 minute walks and build up to longer ones. Always listen to your body. Make sure to walk at a pace that’s right for you and adjust the length of your walks to stay safe and have fun.

walking for weight loss

Jogging and Running: Calorie-Burning Cardio Exercises

Jogging and running are great for burning belly fat. Jogging goes from 4 to 6 mph, while running is over 6 mph.

Jogging vs. Running: What’s the Difference?

For a 140-pound person, jogging burns 10.8 calories a minute, running burns 13.2. If that person is 180 pounds, it changes to 13.9 and 17 calories. So, running for weight loss is more effective at burning calories than jogging for weight loss.

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Calories Burned Through Jogging and Running

Activity Calories Burned (140 lbs) Calories Burned (180 lbs)
Jogging (4-6 mph) 10.8 calories/minute 13.9 calories/minute
Running (>6 mph) 13.2 calories/minute 17 calories/minute

Tips for Safe and Effective Jogging or Running

Start off by jogging for 20-30 minutes 3-4 times per week. If the outdoor impact is tough on you, opt for grass or a cushioned treadmill. This makes running for weight loss easier on your body and more sustainable.

Cycling: A Low-Impact Exercise for Weight Loss

Cycling is easy on your joints, being non-weight-bearing and low impact. If you weigh 140 pounds, you burn about 6.4 calories a minute at 10mph. A 180-pound person burns about 8.2 calories a minute. What’s more, studies show cyclists enjoy better fitness and health. They have less risk of heart disease, cancer, and death.

Benefits of Cycling for Overall Health

Cycling helps you lose weight and boosts your overall health. It improves your heart health, builds muscle, and makes you more flexible. Plus, it’s gentle on your joints, so it’s great for everyone.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cycling for Weight Loss

Want to get in shape by cycling? You can do it inside or out. Indoor cycling lets you set your workout’s pace and length. Outdoor cycling adds the fun of fresh air and new views. Both are perfect for low-impact exercise and losing those extra pounds.

cycling for weight loss

Weight Training: Build Muscle and Boost Metabolism

Weight training can help you lose weight by building muscle. It boosts your resting metabolic rate. This is the amount of calories you burn when at rest. With more muscles, your body needs more energy. So, even when you’re not active, you burn more calories throughout the day.

Compound Exercises for Maximum Calorie Burn

Focus on compound exercises to burn more calories. These include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and pull-ups. They work multiple muscle groups at the same time. This means you can burn more calories per minute than with isolation exercises. These only target one muscle group.

How Weight Training Increases Metabolic Rate

Research shows weight training can greatly increase your metabolism. For example, just 11 minutes of strength exercises three times a week can up your metabolic rate by 7.4%. This is like burning an extra 125 calories a day. In another study, men’s metabolic rate jumped by 9% after 24 weeks of training. That’s around 140 more calories burned daily.

Incorporating Weight Training into Your Routine

Add weight training to your schedule 3-5 times a week for weight loss. Begin with compound exercises. Then, slowly make your workouts harder and longer. Make sure to rest enough between sessions to help your muscles grow and to prevent overtraining.

weight training

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High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Burn More Calories in Less Time

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) mixes intense bursts of activity with rest. Workouts usually last 10-30 minutes. In this short time, you can burn a lot of calories.

What is HIIT?

HIIT involves going all out for a short time, then resting. You might sprint for 30 seconds and then walk or jog for longer. Doing this keeps your heart rate up and burns more calories than steady cardio.

Benefits of HIIT for Weight Loss

HIIT workouts help burn lots of calories in a short time. Research shows that HIIT burns 25-30% more calories per minute than other exercises. It’s also great for burning belly fat, which can cause health issues.

Getting Started with HIIT Workouts

For beginners, pick a cardio exercise you like, like running or biking. Do short bursts of effort, then take it easy. Over time, increase the hard work and reduce the easy parts. Try to do HIIT workouts 2-3 times a week.

HIIT workouts

best exercises for weight loss: Effective Cardio and Strength Training

A mix of cardio and strength training is great for losing weight. Swimming, yoga, and Pilates are awesome low-impact exercises for this goal.

Swimming: A Low-Impact, Full-Body Workout

Swimming is perfect for low-impact exercise to lose weight. It works all major muscles. A 140-pound person burns about 9 calories a minute. For a 180-pound person, it’s roughly 11.6 calories a minute. One study showed that swimming three times a week for an hour cut body fat, boosted flexibility, and dropped heart disease risks.

Yoga: Mind-Body Exercise for Weight Loss

Yoga is great for weight loss. It mixes physical poses, deep breaths, and mindfulness. Yoga burns calories and lowers stress, which helps with emotional eating. Research indicates it can drop body weight, BMI, and body fat.

Pilates: Core Strength and Toning

Pilates is a top pick for losing weight. It works your core and tones muscles. By strengthening your abs and improving posture, Pilates shreds calories and shapes a trimmer you. Its routines are easy on the body, fitting all fitness levels.

low-impact exercises

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Exercise Calories Burned (140 lb person) Calories Burned (180 lb person)
Swimming (moderate pace) 9 calories/minute 11.6 calories/minute
Yoga (hatha) 3-6 calories/minute 4-8 calories/minute
Pilates (mat-based) 3-6 calories/minute 4-8 calories/minute

Lifestyle Changes: Increase Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is not your usual workout. Yet, it plays a big role in weight loss. It covers the calories we burn in everyday activities, not just when we exercise. This includes things like fidgeting, cleaning, or taking the stairs.

What is NEAT and How Does It Contribute to Weight Loss?

NEAT is the movement we do during the day besides our planned workouts. This might be pacing on the phone or standing up more. These little activities can really add up to burn more calories. And that helps with losing weight.

Simple Ways to Increase NEAT Throughout the Day

Boosting your NEAT doesn’t have to be hard. There are many easy ways to increase NEAT daily. Here are some:

  • Take breaks to walk around at work or home.
  • Park your car far away for more steps.
  • Do chores by hand to stay active.
  • Fidget, tap your feet, or pace when sitting.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Try a standing or treadmill desk to move more.

Focusing on increasing your NEAT can help burn more calories each day. This supports weight loss without structured exercise.

NEAT for weight loss

Combining Exercise with a Balanced Diet

To lose weight well, work out regularly and eat food packed with nutrients. The key to weight loss is simple: burn more calories than you eat. This helps your body use up its fat stores.

The Importance of a Calorie Deficit for Weight Loss

It’s wise to aim for 500-1,000 fewer calories a day. With this, you can safely lose 1-2 pounds each week. Rapid weight loss, over 2 pounds weekly, is not healthy. It can cause muscle loss and other problems.

A steady drop in weight, by eating fewer calories and moving more, is better. This way, you keep your health in check.

Nutrient-Dense Foods to Fuel Your Workouts

Eating right is just as important as the calorie deficit. Choose foods that are rich in nutrients to help with your workouts. Foods like lean meats, whole grains, good fats, and plenty of fruits and veggies give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Adding these foods to your meal plan boosts your energy, helps you keep muscle, and aids in good health. They’re a great way to make losing weight feel good.

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nutrient-dense foods for workouts


Adding many exercises to your week is a smart move, like walking and cycling, to shed pounds. Such activities help lose weight, grow muscles, and quicken your metabolism. It’s key to move more in your daily life to burn even more calories with NEAT.

Trying out multiple workouts for effective weight loss lets you cover all fitness areas. The goal is to pick what you love and will keep doing. A mix of the best exercises and healthy eating will lead you to your fitness goals.

Finally, the best path to losing weight fits your life, likes, and aims. By trying out many exercises and choosing the ones you love, you boost your weight loss journey and feel better overall.


What are the best exercises for weight loss?

The best exercises for losing weight include walking, jogging, and running. Also, cycling, weight training, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are great. Swimming, yoga, and Pilates are beneficial too.

How can walking help with weight loss?

Walking is easy and helps you lose weight. A 140-pound person might burn 7.6 calories a minute. Try walking 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week. You can walk more as you get fitter.

What is the difference between jogging and running for weight loss?

Jogging and running are both great for burning belly fat. Jogging is a bit slower, about 4-6 mph. Running is faster, over 6 mph. A 140-pound person burns 10.8 calories a minute jogging and 13.2 calories running.

How can cycling contribute to weight loss?

Cycling is easy on the body and burns calories. At 10 mph, a 140-pound person might burn 6.4 calories a minute. Regular cycling improves fitness and lowers the risk of diseases.

How does weight training support weight loss?

Weight training builds muscle. This can speed up how you burn calories when resting. A 140-pound person might burn 7.6 calories a minute with weight training. Doing compound movements can help you burn more.

What are the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for weight loss?

HIIT increases calorie burn during and after exercise. It burns belly fat and is good for health. Choose an activity and do short, intense efforts with breaks. This is HIIT.

How can swimming contribute to weight loss?

Swimming is a gentle, full-body workout. It can burn lots of calories. A 140-pound person might burn 9 calories a minute. It helps with fat loss and improves heart health.

What is NEAT and how can it contribute to weight loss?

NEAT is how many calories you burn without actual exercise. It includes things like fidgeting and taking the stairs. These actions add up and can help with weight loss.

How important is a calorie deficit for weight loss?

Having a calorie deficit is key for losing weight. Aim to lose 1-2 pounds a week. Losing weight quickly can be bad for your health. It might lead to muscle loss or not getting enough nutrients.

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