the best weight loss exercise programs? Is it quicker to lose weight
through exercise, or through diet? If you have a weight loss goal, then
you are probably desperate to know the real answers to these pressing
questions. In truth, asking whether diet or exercise is the key to
weight loss is like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg.
This is because the best exercise for weight loss goes hand-in-hand with
sound nutrition practices; the most successful weight loss exercise
programs rely equally on both of these components.
Calories = Energy
Before learning more about the best exercise for
weight loss, it is necessary to understand one basic rule about weight
loss: Calories equal energy, and weight loss depends on calories intake
versus calories expenditure. If calories are consumed but not spent by
the body, they become stored as fat. However, calories that have
already been stored as fat are still energy, and can be burned through
exercise. So, to lose weight, one must burn more calories than he/she
consumes. This is done by:
- Increasing calorie burn through exercise (both aerobic and
- Decreasing calorie intake through a nutrient-dense diet that is
low in excess fat and calories.
Scientists have proven that one pound of body fat
equals 3,500 calories. So, for example, if you have a deficit of 3,500
calories over a given week, you will lose one pound of body fat during
that week. Superior weight loss exercise programs will help you to
safely lose up to two pounds of fat per week.
Exercising For Weight Loss
If there is one crucial fact about weight loss
exercise, it is this: the best exercise for weight loss is any exercise
that you enjoy doing. No matter how complex your exercise plan is, if
you do not look forward to it, it will not help you reach your weight
loss goals. People who are planning weight loss exercise programs must
choose activities they enjoy, in settings where they are comfortable.
Aerobic (Cardio) Exercise
Aerobic exercise is invaluable for people with a
weight loss goal, because cardio helps the body to burn large amounts of
calories by utilizing the body’s major muscle groups. The best exercise
for weight loss is any continuous aerobic activity that uses both
the upper and lower body – like rowing, cross country skiing, and
swimming. Other calorie-busting choices for weight loss exercise
- aerobics classes
- walking at a quick pace
- golfing (carrying your clubs)
- inline skating
Strength Training For Weight Loss
The best exercise for weight loss plans also
include strength training, which can be done with free weights,
resistance tubes, or simply your own body weight (as in push-ups or
pull-ups). Many people who want to lose weight skip the
strength-training component, for fear of “bulking up” and getting
heavier. While it is true that muscle weighs more than fat, it is also
true that muscle cells are tremendous calorie burners. In fact, muscle
tissue is responsible for over one quarter of our daily calorie burn;
increasing your muscle mass, increases your calorie burn (metabolism) –
even while you are sitting still or sleeping! In addition to increased
calorie burn, building muscle helps to sculpt the body so that clothes
fit better and the appearance is leaner and more defined.
The Academy of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends
strength training 2 days per week, with 1 – 3 sets of 10 repetitions,
and 8 – 10 exercises. A sound strength-training program combines
exercises that use all of the major muscle groups in the body, including
the abdominals, legs, back, shoulders, chest and arms.
For more help in getting started with your weight
loss goals, please see our other articles on health and fitness.
As a precaution, you should speak to your doctor before starting any exercise program.