When you are working out several times a week, you actually want to know if it’s worth your time and what exactly will help you shift some pounds the quickest.
Simply put, losing weight is determined by the energy balance, meaning the relationship between the calories you consume and the calories you burn.
Exercise can support your weight loss goal by creating a calorie deficit. Exercise only accounts for a small portion of the daily calorie deficit. In order to lose weight, physical activity alone is not going to get you the results, a healthy diet is key. But, it’s not to say exercise isn’t important.
Is exercise beneficial for weight loss?
Exercise helps improve good health. It contributes to weight maintenance, it can lower your blood pressure, help control cholesterol and blood-sugar levels, improve your sleep, and boost levels of self-confidence which can lead to an improved mood.
If you reduce your calorie intake by simply eating less, the chances are that you will be losing muscle mass as well as fat. By combining a reduced calorie intake, with an increased level of activity, you are likely to achieve better results.
So what kind of exercise is best to lose weight?
It’s a common debate whether cardio (aerobic) is more beneficial than resistance (strength) training.
Benefits of aerobic exercise
Research has shown that aerobic exercise like running, cycling and swimming burns more calories in less time compared to those who do solely weight training.
Regular cardiovascular exercise helps strengthen your heart and lungs. Studies have also linked this with a decreased risk for certain diseases like obesity, cancer, diabetes, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, high cholesterol and anxiety.
Benefits of strength training
Strength training may have a lower energy expenditure (EE) during training but the EE after the activity can be elevated. This is because over time you increase your muscle mass. Leading to higher resting metabolism – so you will burn more calories whilst being in rest.
Strength training benefits your balance, coordination, and posture.
If you feel awkward about going to the gym and using dumbbells, there are other bodyweight exercises that you can easily do at home. A yoga or pilates class is a good option for added variation.
Find a form of exercise that’s right for you and your goal
Overall, there isn’t a definitive answer to the question of the best forms of exercise for weight loss. There might be minor benefits of one type over the other, but realistically, the difference is small. That’s why we recommend a combination of both aerobic and strength workouts. Start/end your gym session on the treadmill or add on a quick core session after your run.
Based on your fitness goals, it’s possible you will benefit more by focussing on specific forms of training. If you’re planning to run a race, the best thing to do will be, you guessed it getting out for a run. If your aim is to increase your strength, you’ll benefit more by going to the gym and booking in a PT session to get pointers on how to improve your strength.
To improve your general fitness and be more active, find an activity that you like. By finding forms of exercise that you enjoy, you’re more likely to work your training into your daily routine and sustain this for a longer period of time.
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