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What Are the Best Exercises to Lose Weight?

Updated on December 30, 2018
Get the right equipment for exercising
Get the right equipment for exercising | Source

The Right Exercises

I have come across people telling me that they are doing the wrong type of exercise. This might sound a little strange but there is actually such a thing as doing the right and wrong exercise.

The right exercise should be suitable for you as an individual. This means being at the right pace, the right length and at the right level.

When we think of exercise as a term, we think of it as something to prepare for. A 30 minute jog around the neighbourhood tends to be planned, as is heading to the gym in our lunch hour.

What about when we are moving around in day to day life. Isn't that exercise too? Carrying heavy shopping home or climbing up to the sixth floor of a building is all calorie burning, right?

Well, actually it can be, but not always. Before you consider a new work out regime or wonder why you are active but can’t lose weight, look at these possibilities.


Stress can be a factor when it comes to storing fat.

The body has a hormone called adrenaline which comes from the adrenal gland and a hormone called cortisol.

Adrenaline is the hormone which kicks in when we are frightened or stressed about something. It can also kick in when we do physical activity and can help burn energy. This in turn can burn calories and fat.

Cortisol however stores fat around the middle as it produces insulin. This is an ‘emergency’ supply for when the body is under stress.

The idea is that if the body is under long term stress nature will take over, producing more for survival.

If you suffer long term stress, the adrenalin is short term but cortisol is long term, making it harder to shift that belly fat.

The Solution

Find exercises which will relieve stress. These include:

  • Light aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Walking

Do resistance exercises as well as cardiovascular. Cardio exercise, such as running and cycling can break down lean muscle tissue if done too frequently. Once you have burned off calories, the body has nothing left to burn except muscle. This again will encourage the body to hang on to any fat it has.

Do resistant training alongside to tone up and develop strength and get improved results.

Exercise for Weight Loss

Cardio exercise burns more calories than resistant training (weights), but resistant training tones muscle.

Use light weights, squats, lunges and steps to help with toning.

If you have high cortisone levels, light to moderate exercise for half an hour to an hour, three times a week will benefit. A high protein diet will help with muscle tissue.

Avoid becoming exhausted after workouts as this will add to the stress. Go to classes with friends who can offer support, or get out in the fresh air which can relieve tension.

HIIT Training

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been proven to be a successful way to burn calories, and it can be done in shorter sessions. The idea of high intensity training is that different exercises can be done in short bursts. For example, you can do twenty crunches, followed by twenty punches out in front (with or without hand weights) then ten jump jacks. You can use a hall, park or even your own back garden and run a length back and forth in between each exercise, repeating three times or timing for five minutes. You can change your exercises after each interval to make it interesting.

This can be done as circuit training or boot camps or classes at your local gym such as 'Insanity' classes. Using classes or a personal trainer could help with using the correct techniques, to avoid injury and get the most benefit from each exercise.

How much exercise should I do to lose weight?

If you do not have high cortisone levels but you wish to start up an exercise program, be sure to talk it through with your health practitioner first.

Always start off slowly, doing exercise which interests you and suits your lifestyle. You must build up fitness levels.

To begin with, try a 30 minute workout 3 days a week. Have a rest day in between to allow the muscles to recover.

As you become fitter and lose weight, maintain it by exercising 3 – 5 days a week. Always allow for your rest days.

HIIT training can be done for 15 - 30 minutes in a day, but if like me you enjoy the challenge, do one or two hour classes.

Getting to the gym
Getting to the gym | Source
Use the rowing machine at home
Use the rowing machine at home | Source

Other Examples of Exercise

  • Jogging, brisk walking or using the treadmill
  • Cross trainer
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Aerobics
  • Spinning
  • Rowing
  • Circuits
  • Boxfit
  • Bodypump

Alternate what exercise you do so you are working different muscles. If you don’t enjoy the gym, try these exercises:

  • Belly dancing
  • Squash
  • Zumba
  • Aqua aerobics
  • Tennis

Remember to watch your calorie intake as well. Eat the right amount of calories for exercising, ensuring it’s not more than what you can burn off.

© 2012 Emma Kisby


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