Physical activity gives the body a chance to burn off excess calories, fats and carbs. In reality, anything that will get your heart rate up is going to be beneficial. But what are some of the best exercises for working you up into a good sweat?
The Reality of the Best Exercises
Any activity that has potential to increase your heart rate is going to help you burn fat. It all boils down to two very important factors: time and movement. The longer you can stay at a certain level of activity, the more you’ll burn.
So yes, even mundane chores such as mopping the kitchen floor has potential for burning fat.
You also need to keep in mind that everyone’s physiology is different. Workout routines which work for me may not have the same results for you.
With that being said, here are eight of the best exercises for me to lose weight.
Swimming is one of the most effective forms of exercise for burning calories. It works a wide scope of muscle groups to keep you afloat and it’s often enjoyable. And that’s one of the key elements of a good workout. If you are not engaged in the activity, you’re less likely to commit to doing it for very long.
Another aspect that makes swimming one of the best exercises is zero impact. This means you’re not jarring joints and bones such as you do when running. This means it’s an exceptional healthy way to lose weight especially for those with arthritis, back injuries and many other conditions.
Unfortunately, swimming is also an activity that is more time-consuming and difficult to do in certain areas. For example, it’s 19 degrees outside and I have no intention of jumping into a pool. Or, you can pay money and go to the rec center – if it’s pool is open during the winter.
In other words, it’s not always practical.
2. Xbox Kinect
When it comes to the best exercises you can do, never underestimate the power of the Xbox Kinect. Using games like Kinect Sports Season 2, I burned more calories than any aerobic exercise I tried. This is because you use your own body as the controls for the game.
However, there is a right and wrong way to play these kinds of games. The key is to keep the body moving even in between loading screens. For example, I’ll dance around like an idiot on the tennis court waiting for the computer to serve the ball.
If you want to get more out of the experience, add a 1.5 pound weighted glove to each hand. These increased my calorie burn quite a bit as it forced my body to put more effort into moving muscles during game play.
As soon as I get another Kinect, I’ll be sure to do a whole case study on how effective it is for me.
If you’re able to run, it’s an incredible exercise for working out various muscle groups as well as strengthening the cardiovascular system. Unfortunately, I can’t run for long periods of time because of my current health. However, I’m getting closer and closer with each walk and jog I do.
The downside to running, and why I don’t do it more, is that it can be pretty rough on the joints. If you have knee problems like myself, it’s unrealistic to think you can run a 5k without having severe pain.
The upside to running is that almost anyone can do it. It’s an activity you may have done before you could put sentences together. I know some of you might not be able to run because of physical ailments. But any kind of mobility is going to burn calories whether you’re in a wheel chair or have to use a cane.
Sometimes the music just moves you and the feet seem to take off on their own. Dancing can easily work you into a sweat, especially if you give it your all. I’m not talking about the basic two-step move most of us do to avoid looking like a fool.
When I’m home alone, I jam out to all kinds of music. The cats look at me like I am suffering from convulsions, but I enjoy it. No, I am not a dancer, but I do enjoy getting active with some of my favorite artists.
For example, I was “gettin’ jiggy wit it” with the classic score The Imperial March from Star Wars this morning.
Dance like no one’s watching and work yourself till you have to take a shower.
5. Intense House Cleaning
I found cleaning house to be one of the best exercises for losing weight. In fact, it’s part of my daily routine as far as physical activity goes. Not only do you burn calories, but it’s nice to sit in a clean house.
When I point out house cleaning, I’m not just talking about washing dishes or running the vacuum. I’m talking about actual, get on your knees and scrub type of cleaning. This includes everything both outside and in. You don’t realize just how beneficial sweeping leaves off your porch is until you’re worked up into a sweat.
Don’t view house chores as a grueling activity. Set personal time records and try to beat them and make it a game. For example, I like tracking how many calories I burn from each activity and then try to beat that record the next time.
6. Aerobic Routines
The primary purpose of aerobic routines is to keep your body moving for long periods of time. The more active you remain, the more fat you burn. This is why aerobics are some of the most popular for those who want to lose weight.
Personally, I can’t get into the mindset of doing aerobics. However, I do see its potential for helping people burn through a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Remember, it’s all about intensity – something the best aerobic routines focus on.
In a way, many aerobic workouts are simply dancing with added moves. You’re still jamming out to music, and you’re basically maintaining a specific rhythm. Eventually, it becomes habit and easy to push through without really thinking about it.
I consider walking to be among the best exercises for losing weight because most of us can do it. It’s an activity that doesn’t take much effort. In fact, a strong steady pace is good for both calorie burn as well as the cardiovascular system.
Now, walking doesn’t really mean much unless you put in the effort to drive yourself. You’ll burn more fat walking at a strong pace of four miles per hour than you will at a casual stroll under two. The faster you walk, the more you burn.
This is an activity you can do at work or even in your office to give yourself a quick five-minute break. Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish by putting one foot in front of the other. It’s how I lost the majority of my weight as I walk everywhere…even when I lived in Los Angeles.
What would Crossing Colorado be without biking? When I was younger, and in far better shape, I rode my bicycle all over town. I didn’t own a car until I was 22 because I biked everywhere. And I can say, I was physically far better off.
Riding a bike has potential to burn a ton of calories in a very short amount of time, especially if you turn up the difficulty. For example, I reached a heart rate of 160+ by simply riding the stationary bike at Anytime Fitness last week.
Although I went into shock later that day, I still feel that biking is one of the best exercises for weight loss.
Joking aside, riding a bike is an effective form of physical activity as well as a useful form of transportation. Back in the day, I saved a ton of money in gasoline alone just by riding my bike every other day to go shopping.
It’s All About Keeping Yourself Moving
In the long run, the best exercises you can do all center around one inescapable truth: physical movement. Anything can be an effective workout routine if you can sustain an elevated heart rate. Find something you enjoy and put in the effort to get the most bang for your buck.