When you're trying to lose weight, exercise is a critical part of your effort. If you're already exercising five days per week, then you should give yourself a pat on the back. You're doing a great deal to make sure that you're burning off the excess pounds. But did you know that not all exercises are created equal? What you know about your workouts can make a tremendous difference in the results that you see at the end of every week, when you step onto the scale.
How to Get the Most from Exercising for Weight Loss
The key to making sure that you're getting the most out of your exercising time isn't just in making sure that you're active, but also in knowing that you're doing the right workouts.
The first thing that you need to know is if you are doing enough cardio. This should make up the majority of your workouts because it is the biggest fat burner.
Exercises in this category include brisk walking, running, jogging, swimming, using the elliptical, cycling, and anything else that gets your heart rate going and keeps it there for around thirty minutes. These workouts leave you out of breath, but burning calories both during the workout, and for quite a while afterward.
That said, strength training is also very important. It may be cardio workouts that burn the most calories during the exercise, itself, but strength training is good for toning, as well as for building muscle. Muscle is very important for fat burning because a person with larger muscles will burn more calories both while active and while sedentary. Therefore, even though cardio is very important, strength training shouldn't be missed.
Types of strength training exercises that can help you to build muscle that will later burn fat include crunches, squats, push-ups, lunges, tricep kickbacks, and rowing. It is very important to pay attention to as many large muscle groups as possible when doing strength training.
Focus on Your Whole Body
It is easy to make the mistake of working only certain specific parts of the body. In truth, you want to make sure that you work out your abs, back, shoulders, arms, thighs, and legs get a workout.
It’s true that going for a brisk daily walk will do a lot for you. It’s great for your mental and physical health and is fantastic as a part of exercising for weight loss, too. But also remember that you’re repeating the same movements over and over and are working very specific muscles while leaving others primarily unused.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop focusing on your daily walks. In fact, it’s almost always recommended that healthy people keep up walking as a part of maintaining good health and exercising for weight loss or management. However, it shouldn’t be the only active thing you do. Try to do what you can to ensure you’re working on other movements and using other muscles, too. That way, you’ll use your entire body instead of just certain very specific areas.
Benefit from Exercising for Weight Loss in Unexpected Ways
Don't forget that balance and flexibility are also very important to both your weight loss and your health, so pilates, yoga, and other types of gentle stretches should not be ignored. One or two days per week should be reserved for rest and recovery to give your muscles time to heal.
At the same time, since these workouts improve your balance and flexibility, they will also help you to improve your performance when you’re doing your cardio and strength training workouts. Balance and flexibility are also key components to exercising for weight loss without hurting yourself.
Since the last thing you want to do is injure yourself while exercising for weight loss, remember the importance of your yoga sessions and don’t skip them whenever possible.
How to Get Started if You’ve Been Sedentary for a While
If you haven’t been physically active for a while and you know you should be exercising for weight loss and health, it can feel overwhelming to find a place to start. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor. They might offer you some workout suggestions or might direct you to speak with a personal trainer for guidance.
Typically speaking, the average healthy individual can start off with walking and build from there based on your unique fitness level. Your endurance, strength and range of motion to start will all help to decide on the ways you will begin exercising for weight loss.
From walking, you may add some gentle strength training moves as well as flexibility and balance based workouts to help you to build on your performance over time. Remember to look for the types of activities that you’ll enjoy and be willing to try new things to discover new workouts you’ll love.