exercises for weight loss
exercises for weight loss


The rate of obesity has increased in recent years according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.  In the year 2010, more than one-third of American adults were considered obese- defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.

BMI is derived by dividing weight in pounds by height in inches squared and multiplying the result by 703 (weight lb/height (in)2 x 703)

To calculate your body mass;

  • Multiply your weight in pounds by 703
  • Calculate your height in inches square
  • Divide the resulting figure from step 1 by the resulting figure in step 3.

Obesity has a lot of negative benefits. It causes a number of serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

Losing weight has been a major problem in the world today. Some people start with reducing their calorie intake or exercising but are too lazy to continue and end up giving up.

In this article, we will be looking at the best exercises for weight loss to enable you to pick which one you will enjoy doing and also stay disciplined at it.

One major method that can help in weight loss is limiting the number of calories intake through diets.

The second way is to burn extra calories through physical activities which include exercise.

When trying to lose weight, physical activities increase the number of calories your body uses for energy or “burns off”. This process combined with reducing your calorie intake creates a “calorie deficit” that results in weight loss.

Most weight loss occurs as a result of a decrease in calorie intake. However, evidence shows that the only way to maintain the weight loss is to be engaged in physical activity which also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other heart-related diseases as compared to calorie reduction only.


There hasn’t been any proof that a specific exercise is best for weight loss. Weight loss comprises more than one exercise and it also involves a reduction in calorie intake.

However, there are different exercises for weight loss. Some are generally more effective than others but these will vary among individuals.

exercises for weight loss
exercises for weight loss
  1. Aerobic Exercises:

Your exercise program should include some forms of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise.

Aerobic exercises are vigorous exercises because they elevate your heart rate and allows your blood to pump faster.

Aerobic exercises may include running, cycling, walking, jogging, swimming, and dancing. You can consider a fitness machine such as a treadmill, stair stepper, or elliptical for your workout session.


Running is a form of cardiovascular exercise that causes your lungs and heart to work harder than usual. The extra work leads to your body burning stored up energy.

When the body burns more calories than it absorbs, it causes weight loss over time. Weight loss is not an immediate process, it doesn’t work like magic.

It requires regular exercise for several weeks or months or even a year depending on the amount of weight you are planning to lose.

Running doesn’t need any specific technique, it could take place anywhere. Some people run in their local area or in the park, pick a location that works for you. It also doesn’t need any specific equipment other than your sneakers.

Running is also an exercise you can easily alter the duration or intensity for more benefits.

For example, you may decide to start with 10 minutes run daily and gradually increase the duration or distances. You can also make it more intense by running faster or at an incline.


Walking and running are cardiovascular activities that share similar effects on your body, but walking is a much lower form of intense exercise.

Although its lower intensity means that your body will burn fewer calories per minute, It has several advantages, one of it is;

with walking, you can maintain longer durations.

Most people who do not enjoy vigorous exercise like running, jumping ropes, and swimming laps are able to engage in walking and still get similar effects on their bodies.

Going for a long walk in pleasant places like by the sea or countryside makes walking much more pleasant and motivating.

Walking is recommended as a good starting point for people attempting to be more active as they can easily integrate it into their lives and set realistic goals.

Walking as an aerobic exercise may improve sleep, memory and intelligence quotient.

Cycling: This is another very effective cardio exercise for weight loss. Cycling is more vigorous than walking as it requires additional force from the legs to keep the pedals moving.

Some people make use of indoor stationary bikes present in some gyms because changing the resistance to increase the intensity of the workout is easy.

Increasing the intensity when cycling outside can be achieved by cycling uphill which helps you to change the resistance and helps you pedal faster.

People who use cycling as a mode of transport can easily fit into their daily routine. For example, cycling 40 minutes to work and back is an excellent weight loss routine.


Swimming is an excellent weight loss exercise with a low risk of injury. Swimming is not just a form of cardio, it is also a natural resistance exercise.

This resistance is caused by water. This resistance created by the water lowers the risk of injuries by reducing the impact of swimming on the joints.

Swimming is suitable for people of all age grade. It can be performed vigorously or leisurely. It has been proven to be a very effective form of exercise for burning calories hence causing weight loss.

If you enjoy swimming and you are looking for an exercise that would help you lose weight, consider incorporating swimming as one of your routines.

exercises for weight loss
exercises for weight loss
  1. Weight Training:

The major advantage of weight training exercises is that in adding to shedding fat, you also get to build muscle, building muscle in turn burns calories. Experts have recommended working the major muscle group three times per week. These muscle group include;

  • Abs
  • Biceps
  • Back
  • Chest
  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Forearms
  • Quads
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps, and
  • Traps

This exercise is recommended for people who don’t want to look skinny but build muscles instead, during their weight loss process.

Some weight and strength training exercises for weight loss include;

Squats: Squats are one of the most recommended strength training exercises for weight loss.

Audra Wilson, a certified trainer and registered dietician said that weighted squats involves all the lower body muscles and results in some back and abdominal muscles for support. These muscles working means more calories are being burned.

You can begin with bodyweight squats and gradually add dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells for more effect.

Lunges: Lunges have also been recommended to help with weight loss. You can do them by just stepping one floor forward and then steeping it backward to the starting position or make it more intense by doing walking lunges.

Walking lunges involves using unilateral training to increase your heart rate and metabolism for weight loss. The continuous walking motion used for walking lunges makes them more effective for weight loss than regular lunges.

Deadlifts: Deadlift is a dynamic movement. Though it has a simple technique, it engages your whole body including all major muscle groups as listed above.

Since deadlift is a full-body workout, you will be inducing more hormonal reaction as well as blood pumping to these specific muscles which means you will be experiencing an escalated heart rate which leads to increases fat loss.

A barbell is best for deadlifts but you can make use of dumbbells or kettlebells if a barbell is not available.

Whatever you will be using, Endeavour to focus on form first with light weights then gradually increase the weight as you get better.

Split squats: Split squats involves holding your legs in a split position as you lower and raise the hips, really firing up the lower body.

Eric Bowling, a certified trainer describes this to be a great alternative to back squats because you are able to target the lower body efficiently without bringing any form of injury to the back when done correctly.

Your legs will fall before your lower back. To make it a full-body workout, add a shoulder press to the split squats to work the upper body and core as well.

Kettlebell swings: Kettlebell swings are full-body movement that uses the strength of your entire core legs and glutes to create momentum and swing the kettlebell.

This motion is continuous causing a great increase in your heart rate which in turn causes you to burn massive calories in no time.

Triceps Pushups: Pushups are great for building muscles in your arms and stabilizing your core says Stephanie Blozy, MS an exercise science expert and owner of the fleet in west Hanford, CT.

She suggests you start doing them with the knees resting on the floor and move up to a classic push up with straight legs.

For a fuller body workout, progress to an inverted pushup by first doing them off a box (feet are on a box, hands on the floor; like a half handstand) and then eventually to a full handstand pushup against the wall.

exercises for weight loss
exercises for weight loss
  1. Yoga:

Yoga is another exercise that has been found very effective in weight loss, although it is not as intense as other types of exercises. According to a recent study by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, people who practice yoga are more mindful about what they eat and therefore are less likely to be obese.

Also, some yoga techniques can make you burn a lot of calories.


This table below shows the calories used in common physical activities at both moderate and vigorous or intense levels.

Moderate Physical activity Approximate calorie Per 30 minutes                  Approximate calorie per 1 hour
Hiking 185 370
Light gardening/yard work 165 330
Dancing 165 330
Golf 165 330
Bicycling (10 meters per hour) 145 290
Walking (3.5 mph) 140 280
Weight lifting 110 220
Stretching 90 180


Vigorous Activities Approximate calories Per 30 minutes approximate calories per 1 hour
Running/jogging (5 mph) 295 590
Bicycling (10 mph) 295 590
Swimming (slow free style laps) 255 510
Aerobics 240 480
Walking (45 mph) 230 460
Heavy yard work (chopping woods 220 440
Weight lifting (Vigorous effort) 220 440


Basketball 220 440


Combining exercise with a healthy diet is a more effective way to lose weight than depending on calorie restriction alone. Other benefits include;

  1. Exercise can prevent or even reverse the effects of certain diseases
  2. Exercise lowers high blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  3. Exercise helps in preventing heart attack
  4. Reduces arthritis pain and associated disabilities
  5. Reduces the risk of developing certain cancers like colon and breast cancer
  6. Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and stroke
  7. May lower rates of anxiety and depression.


Weight loss is a gradual process as mentioned earlier, it takes a lot of commitment to actually start seeing massive results, especially if you happen to be obese.

To reap the health benefits of exercise, it is recommended that you perform aerobics at least three times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes per session. For more weight loss effect, you may need to do better than 20 minutes.

Mix in some higher intensity exercise. To get an idea of how hard you are working out, check your heart rate.

The basic formula for determining your target heart rate is to subtract your age from 220 and then calculate 60 to 80 percent of that number.

Talking to a trainer or working with one will help determine the best intensity for each workout.

If you have some health conditions like an injury, diabetes, heart disease or stroke, consult a physician before starting any fitness program.


  1. Before starting either a moderate or intense exercise program, talk to your doctor especially if you have a medical condition
  2. If you are also overweight and have been very inactive for recent months or you recently quit smoking, see a doctor before starting a new exercise program.
  3. It is very important you pay attention to your body change and signals when starting a new exercise program. Push yourself daily and make sure you are making improvements but don’t push too hard to prevent injuries.
  4. If you start feeling shortness of breath, stop exercising.
  5. Trying to lose weight without changing your diet will be an effortless motive. To lose weight, it is necessary to burn more calories than you consume.

The ideal calorie intake recommended by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute is 1, 200- 1,500 calories to lose weight safely for women and 1,500- 1,800 for men.

It is important to maintain a healthful diet when reducing calorie intake. Aim to get all three macronutrients; Protein, carbs and healthy fats at each meal. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.


Losing weight has been a major goal for so many adults in recent years, especially those that are obese.

There is no single best exercise for weight loss but they are very effective group of exercises, while they also have some with advantages that might appeal to certain people.

For example; running and walking because they are easy to start and requires no professional technique.

Physical activities doesn’t work alone to accomplish weight loss. Reducing your calorie intake and maintaining a healthy diet also plays an important role.