Last Updated on October 18, 2017 by Michael Brockbank
When it comes to specific results, some activities are simply better than others. While every form of physical movement is beneficial to a person’s health, pushing yourself a bit further burns more fat and calories. So, what are some effective exercises that can help you drop weight as quickly as possible?
Effective Exercises Start with You
Before I get started, let me state that ever person’s physiology is different. What works exceptionally well for one person may not be all that spectacular for another. These are exercises that have helped me lose the most weight over the years, and you may lose more or less than I.
Before you get started, you need to understand that losing weight requires an effort. And don’t assume you’ll melt away a pound a day from pushing yourself to exhaustion. The average person loses about 3 pounds per week with a good diet and regular exercise.
Swimming is my number one activity for a myriad of reasons. It’s highly physical, zero-impact and is fun for many people. In fact, you can burn more calories swimming for 45 minutes than you can running for the same amount of time.
When you’re in the water, your body is using more muscles to perform various actions. If you’re active in the pool, you could use nearly every muscle in your body to maintain the activity.
One of the many reasons why swimming is a part of effective exercises is because of resistance. In the water, you’re fighting against a liquid which means your body needs to work that much harder. This quickly burns calories while defining muscle mass.
2. Xbox Kinect
I wonder how many “effective exercises” lists the Xbox is in? One of my favorite activities is playing the Xbox Kinect. By playing games like tennis or, “Avengers: Battle for Earth,” I can burn more calories in 15 minutes than the most popular Bowflex machines. I know because I did a case study on myself some time ago.
One of the biggest reasons why the Kinect is in this list is because it takes the “work” out of workout. By keeping the mind entertained, you don’t realize your exercising, which often makes people view it more like a chore. It’s all about gamification and doing activities you enjoy.
Of course, it also depends on how you play the Xbox Kinect in the first place. Just standing in one spot isn’t going to burn an extreme amount of calories. Put in exaggerated body movements and dance around like an idiot. Trust me, it works exceptionally well to work up a sweat.
I lost about 20 pounds while living in Los Angeles simply because I walked more than normal. Part of this was because I didn’t have a car, and had no plans to get one. Walking is one of the easiest of effective exercises because it’s something that most of us can do already.
According to the stats from Fitbit, I burn an average of nine calories per minute when walking about three to four miles per hour. Sitting idle at my desk, I only burn 1.4. This is based on my heart rate, which is a byproduct of activity. The more active you are, the harder your heart works – which is an estimate to how many calories you’re truly burning.
The best part about walking is that you can do it anywhere. For example, I walk around in my backyard for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. You can do this in your office, walk in place at your desk or go for a nice walk around the neighborhood. It costs nothing but a pair of shoes.
Running is one of those activities I can’t really get behind quite yet. Part of this is because my right knee is bad and impact activities like running wind up hurting quite a bit. However, that’s not saying that it’s not an incredible cardio activity that will burn through calories rather quickly.
I did a small bit of running while in Los Angeles, but I don’t know if I will do much here in Colorado. That’s because I live near a very busy street right now and the pollution from the cars is way more harsh than it was in Los Angeles – believe it or not.
This Saturday, I plan on trying the waters with running again at Anytime Fitness. Don’t know how hard I can push myself, but I am still a bit worried about my heart. After it stopped last year, I am very self-conscious about working it up too much. But I haven’t had an episode in months, so I think I might be in the clear.
5. Any Aerobic Exercise
The key to effective exercises is keeping the heart rate elevated for as long as possible. This means aerobic workouts will burn off fat and calories exceptionally well. But what if you don’t want to go to the gym or join aerobic workout groups?
Any long-lasting physical movement works in much the same way as an aerobic routine. It’s all about keeping your body moving. If you can work up a sweat in a short amount of time, congratulations; you’re burning fat.
In the grand scheme of things, house and yard work can be considered a form of aerobic exercise. Not only that, but then you have a nice clean home to appreciate at the end of the day – which does wonders for your stress levels. When you look at chores, think of them more as workout routines.
6. Get Out and Play
Want to lose fat relatively fast? Get out and play more. Group activities like basketball, volleyball, tennis and other sports not only burn calories, but they also offer a social element. The harder you play, the more developed muscles become while burning fat.
One side effect of playing in sports is the need to be better than the other team. This often leads people like myself to practice more to be better. Essentially, it’s training for the sport you want to play – which again takes the “work” out of workout.
Now that I am settling in my new home, I am going to start looking for teams to join. I am partial to bowling, golf and baseball, so that is where I’m going to start. Besides, I spend way too much time sitting at home at my computer as it is.
Finally, my favorite among effective exercises, bicycling. In fact, it’s the reason behind building this website in the first place. I want to ride in Pedal the Plains here in Colorado, and I would love to cross the entire state – hence the name “Crossing Colorado.”
Cycling is an incredible activity for health as it can work the heart in a similar fashion to running but with a much lower impact. It’s also a great form of transportation if you don’t have a car…like myself.
The fastest I’ve ever got a mountain bike was 35 mph. I was also 19 and in far better shape. Thirty-five doesn’t sound very fast until you’re doing it on a bike – then it feels like you’re jumping into hyperspace.
I’ll do more blog posts on cycling here in Colorado as soon as I buy a new one. Mine is a bit of a wreck and stuck in one gear.
Bonus: Proper Consumption
I know eating isn’t really an exercise, but it needs to be pointed out. Even if you found the most effective exercises for your needs, it doesn’t matter much if you still eat garbage.
Proper portion sizes is an excellent start. By simply reducing your intake, you don’t really need to give up on the foods you love. Just make sure you’re eating less of them. A serving of most brands of cookies is only two, not the entire row in a package.
Adding more fruits and veggies not only fills you up, but it gives the body nutrients it needs to be at optimal health. Make better choices when it comes to meal time.
Find What Works for You
These exercises are worked best for me. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience. Experiment with different routines and find effective exercises that promote your own weight loss. And remember, don’t expect an overnight change in your body. It may take weeks before you know if a certain exercise is worth the effort.