Throughout the years, I’ve had many individuals and clients ask me what is the best activity for weight loss. The answer might surprise you. First and foremost, you are 80% what you eat. You may be exercising consistently. However, if your calorie intake is more than you’re burning, you will gain weight. If you are active, but consistently overeat, or eat the wrong things, you will gain weight. In other words, you can out eat your activity. Now, to answer the burning question that many people want to know…the best activity for weight loss is the kind that you enjoy. Not what you were expecting? Here’s the deal, if you don’t enjoy a certain activity, you won’t stick with it long term. Weight loss is a combination of diet and exercise. Developing sustainable healthy habits is at its core. As humans, we gravitate towards things that give us pleasure and are easy to do. If we do something that is difficult, uncomfortable, or just plain unenjoyable, we will not stick with it long term. That is a scientific fact! So, if you’re starting your weight loss journey, and are looking to incorporate activity, find something you enjoy.
According to www.healthline.com, there are 8 best exercises for weight loss. I’ve combined Yoga and Pilates with weight-bearing activity.
1) Walking – It’s easy, convenient, and great for beginners. Walking is easier on your joints than running. A brisk walk can be as effective as running, with less stress on the body.
2) Jogging or running – Running is a great way to burn calories. It can help burn visceral fat, commonly known as belly fat. It is hard on the joints. Stretching before and after is key, as well as investing in the right shoes.
3) Cycling – A great way to burn calories with less joint stress. Studies have shown that people who cycle regularly have better overall fitness, increased insulin sensitivity, and a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and death, compared to those don’t cycle regularly. Being properly fitted for a bike is important to avoid lower back, neck, and knee pain.
4) Weight training – As we age, we lose muscle mass, women more so than men. It is imperative to incorporate weight-bearing activity to maintain strong bones and muscle mass. Weight training does not have to be done at a gym with equipment. You can use your own body weight as resistance. Yoga and Pilate are great ways to do this, as are planking and push-ups. Yoga is also a great way to relieve stress and improve mindfulness.
5) Interval training – This high-intensity training refers to short bursts of intense exercise that alternate with recovery periods. Think Orange Theory and Cross Fit. Many gyms have exercise classes with interval training. This is a great way to build muscle and endurance.
6) Swimming – It’s low-impact, is great for people with joint pain. It can significantly reduce body fat and improve flexibility.
One last point regarding weight-bearing activity; when doing weight-bearing activity, your muscles retain fluid. As a result, you may experience a weight gain after weight-bearing activity. It is important to drink plenty of water to flush the fluids out of your body. As you develop muscle mass, you will start to see a shift in the scale. Muscle requires more energy to maintain. And, no, a pound of muscle does not weigh more than a pound of fat. A pound is a pound.