The Best Exercises to Lose Weight and Stay Active

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Losing weight is easier said than done, and there isn’t a magic pill to take off pounds. Instead, you have to burn more calories than you take in. This involves a healthy diet, as well as a combination of cardio and strength training.

Ready to shed stubborn pounds? Here’s a look at some of the best cardio and strength-training exercises for weight loss, along with tips to be active throughout the day.

4 cardio exercises for weight loss
Cardiovascular workouts (or simply cardio) elevate your heart rate. These are some of the most effective forms of exercise for weight loss because the greater your heartbeat, the more fat you’ll burn, explains Multazim Shaikh, a fitness trainer and nutritionist with FamFits.

To lose weight or maintain weight loss, you’ll need up to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, according to the Mayo Clinic. This averages about 60 minutes, five days a week.

If you’re busy, split up your cardio into three smaller workouts a day. One example: Exercise 20 minutes in the morning before work, walk 20 minutes on your lunch break, and exercise for 20 minutes after dinner.

Great cardio workouts to help you lose weight include:

1. Low-intensity cardio
You don’t have to exercise at a high intensity to lose weight. If you’re a beginner or have physical limitations, low-intensity cardio can also help you burn calories and drop pounds.

These workouts include jogging, bicycling, power walking, swimming, and aerobics. Start slow and gradually up the intensity as you adjust to your new routine.

Aim for 60 minutes of low-intensity cardio five days a week. As you become more physically fit, carry hand weights while jogging, walking, or doing aerobics.

2. Jump rope
Jumping rope not only improves coordination and cognitive function, but the intensity of this workout elevates your heart rate, helping you burn about 1,300 calories per hour, explains Shaikh.

Warm up with 8 to 10 jumps.
Then jump continuously for 1 1/2 minutes.
Rest for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat.
Complete 3 sets.
You can switch up your routine, too. Jump one set on a single leg, one set with both legs, and one set while running in place.

3. Burpees
Burpees combine squats, jumps, and pushups. It’s an effective workout because you’re burning fat from your overall body, and you’re training multiple muscle groups like your chest, legs, and core, says Shaikh.

Do 10 reps in 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds.
Repeat for 5 minutes.
4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This cardio workout has increased in popularity due to its ability to maximize calorie burn and fat loss. It involves intense bursts of exercise to elevate your heart rate, followed by 15 seconds of rest.

HIIT is great if you don’t have a lot of time. You’re able to exercise for a shorter length of time, yet complete a more intense and strenuous workout. As a result, you’ll continue to burn calories for hours after the workout, notes Shaikh.

Here’s an example of a HIIT routine:

Complete butt kicks for 45 seconds, and rest for 15 seconds.
Next, perform jumping lunges for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest.
Complete burpees for 45 seconds, and rest for 15 seconds.
Repeat for 10 to 20 minutes.
You can also incorporate other movements like mountain climbers and jump squats.
Or, you can try to complete a HIIT workout on a treadmill:

Warm up for 5 minutes.
Then sprint at a high-intensity speed for 1 minute.
Walk for 30 seconds, and then sprint again at a high-intensity speed for 1 minute.
Complete 8 to 10 sets.

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