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5 Tips for Using Exercise for Weight Loss

Updated on July 1, 2013
What's the best exercise to lose weight?
What's the best exercise to lose weight? | Source

A healthy eating plan and exercise are the two things that will help you lose weight. You may have heard that the best exercise for weight loss is cardiovascular training, like running, swimming or cycling. While that is technically true, there are some things that you need to know about exercising and how it helps you lose weight.

Before jumping into the first fitness program you find, it is important to make sure it is perfect for your needs and abilities. Here are five tips that you need to follow to use exercise for weight loss.

Exercise At Your Level and Ability

You can’t just jump straight into intensive exercise five or six days a week. Yes, this sudden increase will help you lose weight but it could cause more harm than good. Your body isn’t used to the intensity and will crumble under the pressure.

You’re more at risk of injuries if you rush your body into exercise. It is important to build up your abilities. If you have never done exercise in the past, start off with one or two days a week in 10-15 minute intervals. Anything is better than nothing right now! As your body gets used to the exercise it is time to increase the level. You can then do more days or a longer session.

You will need to increase the amount that you do over time. Your body will get used to the exercise for weight loss, and relatively quickly! As the activity starts to feel easy, it is time to step up the level of intensity or the amount that you do. This keeps your body active and stops your muscles from getting used to it.

Do cardio exercises to burn fat
Do cardio exercises to burn fat | Source

Interval Training Is Great for Weight Loss

One of the best types of exercise that you can do to lose weight is interval training. This is a type of cardio activity that involves quickly raising the heart rate and then decreasing it and repeating. Examples include hill reps and a series of sprinting and then jogging and repeating that motion.

You can do this with any type of cardio activity. I used to sprint two lengths in the swimming pool and have a 45 second break and then repeat 10 times. I would also do a series of hill reps up one of the hardest hills at a park nearby when I was running.

The benefit is that your metabolism works harder. You are constantly changing your heart rate and getting the blood flowing around the body. You continue to burn calories even after training, unlike with regular cardio training.

Do Weight Training to Tone

You may hear that weight training isn’t a good exercise for weight loss. While that is somewhat true, it is still worth doing. The weight and strength training in itself won’t help you lose weight but it will help you build muscle, which is still important.

Building muscle encourages the body to burn calories from the fat. The body stores calories in muscle and fat and the ones in the muscles are much easier to get to and use – that’s why you see skeletal figures when people crash diet!

Don’t focus all your efforts on strength exercises for weight loss but definitely include some in your workout. Once you lose the weight, you’ll have the figure of your dreams.

Doing something you love will help you succeed
Doing something you love will help you succeed | Source

Do Something You Enjoy

When I first started trying to lose weight, I did all the exercises that were meant to be great for it. I went running, I joined the gym and went to a few aerobics classes. Most of them didn’t last because I hated them!

I stopped exercising and put more weight on. When I decided to try again a few months later, I opted for exercises that I enjoyed doing. I went swimming, I joined the university basketball team and I went back to dance classes. They were fun for me and stopped feeling like exercise.

When you do something you enjoy, you are more likely to put the effort in. This will help you lose more weight and gain better results overall. You’ll also more likely stick to your efforts over the long term.

Do Exercises for Weight Loss in Bursts

Heard that you have to do 30 minutes per day to be healthy? It sounds like a lot, especially if you’re not used to exercise. To lose weight, you may have to do up to 60 minutes of exercise in.

When you work full-time, have children and a family and other commitments that you have to make, how do you possibly fit all that exercise in? It’s easy to just push it off to another day and then another and then another!

Break up your exercise. You don’t have to do all 30 minutes at the same time! Do 15 minutes before work and then the other 15 minutes while on your lunch break. You could do it in five minute intervals when you get a chance – you are still getting the same workout by the end of the day! You are still getting all the benefits once you’ve done that last five or 10 minutes stint!

If you put the pressure on yourself to do all of it at one time, you will get bored and give up. By splitting it up, you won’t realise just how much you’re doing, which will offer more benefits in the long term.

Exercises are great for weight loss but you have to be sensible about it. Don’t rush into doing a lot at one time and gradually build up to that 150 minutes of exercise a week. Exercise for weight loss should be something that you enjoy so get a friend to join in with you or find something that you have always loved to do – you will soon find that it becomes a good habit instead of a chore!


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