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The 7 Best Exercises for Weight Loss


I get this question a lot, what are the best exercises? The simple answer: the ones you like and will do consistently. That being said, research shows that some exercises are great at promoting weight loss and a healthy weight. Let's dive in so you can find your favs!


1) Walking: are you surprised? I was, we often think we must be doing something extreme in order to be burning calories. However, that's not true.

According to Harvard Health, an estimated 155 lbs. (70 kg) person burns 167 calories per 30 minutes of walking at a moderate pace, 4 mph (6.4 km/h) (1).

Why is it great for you?

It's low-impact and you only need a comfy pair of shoes.

What are some ways to incorporate more walking into your day?

1) Park towards the back of the parking lot and enjoy the 1-3 extra minutes it takes to walk to work, the store or appointments.

2) Walk for 15-30 minutes during your lunch break with a co-worker so that you get to socialize and be healthy together.

3) Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. (I do this one, my office is on the 5th floor and it's actually a really good feeling to be breathing harder when I make it up all of them, bonus: it wakes you up :)

4) Take the dog on extra walks or walk with your spouse in the evenings to unwind and have meaningful conversations.

How do you get started?

Aim for 30 minutes 3-4 times per week. You can gradually increase the frequency or duration as you become more fit.

Running or Jogging

2) Jogging/running are great exercises to lose weight.

Harvard health estimates that a 155 lbs. (70 kg) person burns approximately 298 calories per 30 minutes of jogging at 5 mph ( 8 km/m) or 372 calories per 30 minutes at a 6 mph (9.7 km/m) pace (1).

Why is it great for you?

Jogging/running can help you burn belly fat; this fat wraps around your organs and has been linked to various chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and fatty liver disease (2) (3).

How do you get started?

Jogging/running can be done almost anywhere or on the treadmill with a comfy pair of shoes and breathable comfy clothes. If jogging is hard on your joints, try jogging in the grass or on treadmills with built-in cushioning.

Cycling or biking

3) Cycling: whether it's outdoors or indoors, cycling can help you lose the weight and keep it off.

Harvard health estimates that a 155 lbs. (70 kg) person burns around 260 calories per 30 minutes on a stationary bike or 298 calories on a bike when cycling at a moderate pace 12-14 miles/hr (19-22 km/m) (1).

Why is it great for you?

Cycling is not only great for weight loss, but studies show that people who cycle regularly have better overall fitness, increased insulin sensitivity, lower heart disease, cancer, and death.

How do I get started?

Try a cycling class or air up the tires in your bike and ride around the neighborhood. Start with 10-20 minutes 2-3 times per week and increase to 3-5 times per week for 15-50 minutes.

Lifting weights

4) Weight Bearing Exercises can help you lose weight and keep it off.

Harvard health estimates that a 155 lbs. (70 kg) person burns roughly 112 calories per 30 minutes of weight training.

Body weight exercises and lifting weight can help break down muscle and promote muscle growth which increases our resting metabolic rate, aka, we burn more calories at rest.

Why is it great for you?

Did you know we continue to burn calories hours after weight-training workouts compared to aerobic exercises? It's true, so weight training is an effective method of burning calories. Beware, if you are lifting regularly, you may start to build more muscle and burn more fat. Muscle does have weight, therefore, you may see that you are losing inches and not much weight. This is ok because you are gaining muscle which takes up less space and burns more calories than fat mass.

How do you get started?

If you've never lifted weights before, seek out a trainer to show you how to lift properly so that you do not injure yourself. Start with 10 minutes and build up to 45 minutes of weight training 1-3 times per week.

High Intensity Interval Training

5) High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): short bursts of high intensity exercises that alternate with brief intervals of rest. An example would be 20 secs of jump squats, 10 sec break, 3 times through before moving on to the next exercise.

Why is it great for you?

You can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. HIIT is effective at burning belly fat which is linked to many chronic diseases.

How do you get started?

HIIT can be incorporated into any exercise routine. For instance, if you are cycling, cycle at your max for 20 seconds, followed by a slower pace for 1-2 minutes. Start with one HIIT workout per week for 5-10 minutes and increase to 2-3 times per week 10-25 minutes.


6) Yoga can help you lose weight and de-stress. Did you know that stress can prevent weight loss? It's true, when our bodies are stressed, they do not like to lose weight. Incorporating ways to decrease stress in our daily routine can be a key factor for weight loss.

Harvard Health estimates that a 155 lbs. (70 kg) person burns about 150 calories per 30 minutes of yoga.

Why is it great for you?

It can help us burn calories, relieve stress and teach us mindfulness which can help with food cravings, overeating and better understanding our hunger signals.

How do you get started?

You can find online yoga classes, yoga studies and yoga classes at your local gym. Start off with 30 minute yoga class one time per week and increase to 1-3 times per week for 30-90 minutes.


7) Swimming is a great way to lose weight, get in shape and keep cool.

Harvard health estimates that a 150 lbs. (70 kg) person burns about 230 calories per 30 minutes of swimming. How you swim matters: for 30 minutes a backstroke burns 298 calories, a breaststroke burns 372 calories, a butterfly burns 409 calories and treading water burns 379 calories (1).

Why is it great for you?

It burns calories, gets you fit and is low impact; it's a great option for people who have injuries or joint pain.

How to get started?

Take a class or swim in your pool. Mix up the strokes so that you don't get too tired too quickly. Start with 10 minutes 1-2 times per week and increase to 3-5 times per week for 30-50 minutes.

Key Take Aways:

Find exercises that you like doing, mix it up and keep it consistent. Do something every day to get in movement and focus 3-5 days of the week on 30-50 minutes of exercise. Start slow: start with exercising 1-2 days for 10-30 minutes and over the next few months increase the frequency and duration.

Find a buddy to exercise with, whether that's going for a walk, jog or taking an exercise class. Friends can help keep us accountable and push us and we can push them as well. It's a win-win.



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