Overweight woman running on a treadmill showing an option for what is the best exercise for losing weight

What is the best exercise for losing weight?

There are literally hundreds of types of exercise available to you and this can make it very difficult to know which is the best exercise for losing weight.

You have most likely tried different types of exercise yourself, with some helping you more with your weight than others. They may have helped you lose weight, or helped you keep in control of your weight by maintaining it.

The interesting thing is, other people will have had the exact opposite results to you, whereby different types of exercise worked better for them.

So what really is the best exercise for losing weight? The answer may surprise you!

To choose the best exercise for losing weight, you have the following 3 areas to consider, with the final one being the most important:

1. Calories burned by your exercise

Moving your body by completing exercise burns calories and the more calories that you burn, the easier you can find it to lose weight.

To give you an idea, here are some of the most popular types of exercise and the calories that they burn (based on a person weighing 180 pounds who completes 30 minutes exercise):

Running – 340
Circuit training class – 340
Cycling – 274
Swimming – 238
Walking – 151

By looking at this list it would be easy to assume that running or a circuit training class is the best exercise for losing weight. In theory, this is correct! They can both definitely help you get excellent results with losing weight and getting a great looking body.

However, this is only part of the weight loss picture. The number of calories that you burn also depends of the next area…

2. How hard you push yourself

Even if two people do the exact same type of exercise, for the exact same time, their body can still burn a drastically different number of calories. This is because the weight of a person affects the number of calories they burn and importantly, so does their effort level.

By pushing yourself harder with exercise and increasing your effort level you can burn more calories in these two ways:

  • You can complete more exercise in the same time – For example, if someone runs 3 miles in 30 minutes, compared to someone else who runs 2 miles in 30 minutes, they will burn an extra 50% more calories. This is a huge jump in the number of calories burned

  • You can benefit from the “Afterburn effect” – The “Afterburn effect” is where you burn calories after the exercise session, even up to 48 hours later. Your effort level and the exercise methods that you use will determine how big your afterburn is

For example, if someone does a fairly simple exercise like walking and takes it easy, they will burn very few calories after their walk. Instead, if they did an exercise using high quality interval training and push themselves hard, they can burn many calories after their session

Please Note: It’s best not to push too hard if you are new to exercise, or a beginner. The safest way to exercise is for you to build up a solid fitness and strength foundation before pushing above an effort level of 8 out of 10.

3. Being able to keep up your exercise

An absolutely critical part of choosing the best exercise for losing weight is being able to enjoy your exercise. You MUST enjoy your exercise. Why?

Being able to enjoy your exercise is the only way you will want to keep it up. How many people do you know that have started a certain type of exercise, or joined a gym, or bought exercise equipment, and then quit soon after? How many times have you done exactly the same things?

The downside, of stopping exercising is that even if you’ve done a type of exercise for several weeks or months and lose some weight, the weight will soon return after you stop. Many people spend years going from one type of exercise to another, losing weight and gaining weight, only to end up no better off (or even worse off) than when they started.

If you can enjoy your exercise, it makes it far, far easier to keep it up. Then any weight loss results that you gain can be maintained, rather than stopping exercising and losing them.

As an example, you would be much better walking three times a week, every week all year round, than you would trying swimming just because it burns more calories but you barely ever go because you don’t enjoy it.

Also, by enjoying your exercise and carrying it out each week, you are creating better and healthier routines and habits. So as the weeks and months go by, it becomes even easier to keep up your exercise.

Then as you keep getting fitter and you can complete more exercise in the same time, or you push yourself harder, you can burn even more calories and this helps you become much more effective at losing weight.

What exercise should YOU do to lose weight?

I hope you can appreciate that there is no best exercise for losing weight. There is only the exercise that is best for you!

You can use this selection process to make a start with choosing which exercise is best for YOU for losing weight:

  1. Firstly, and most importantly, think about your exercise options and choose one or more types of exercise that you enjoy

  1. Secondly, if there are several types of exercises that you enjoy, then choose the ones that burn the most calories

For more help along your exercise journey and getting the best out of your exercise, as well as having our expert advice and support to lose weight, it will help you a lot to get started with the BoostMyLife Online Program.

James Porter
BoostMyLife Founder

P.S. Get your FREE copy of The Top Ten Mistakes You Must Avoid When Losing Weight

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