What kind of exercise can help me lose weight?

To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in -- and that can be difficult to do without exercise.

While cardiovascular workouts, such as walking, jogging or riding a bicycle,are important, adding some resistance training can help maintain muscle tissue. You don’t have to bulk up and get big muscles. Simply toning your muscles through resistance training with light weights, or even your own body weight, can make a difference. Choose activities you enjoy, and you will be more likely to stick with them.
One element to losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is adding exercise to your daily routine and reducing the time you spend sitting. Exercise not only burns calories, it also tempers your appetite, boosts metabolism, improves sleep and provides psychological benefits, such as stress reduction and an increased feeling of control and self-esteem.

If you are over 40, have been inactive for some time, suffer from shortness of breath or weakness that interferes with daily activities or have a chronic health condition, consult a healthcare professional before increasing your physical activity. Notify your healthcare professional about any chest pain, faintness or dizziness, bone or joint pain you're experiencing, and any medications you're taking.

Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles resulting in energy expenditure. The best kinds of exercises for burning calories are moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activities. The calories burned per hour are listed for a 140-pound healthy woman.

Moderate intensity activities include:
  • hiking (386 calories)
  • light gardening/yard work (302 calories)
  • dancing (319 calories)
  • golf, walking and carrying the clubs (244 calories)
  • bicycling, less than 10 miles per hour (mph) (370 calories)
  • walking, 3.5 mph (370 calories)
  • yoga (336 calories)
Vigorous intensity physical activities include:
  • aerobics, high-impact (445 calories)
  • calisthenics (512 calories)
  • running/jogging, 5 mph (580 calories)
  • swimming (580 calories)
  • bicycling, 12 to 14 mph (554 calories)
  • racquetball, casual (445 calories)
  • skiing, downhill (554 calories)
  • weight lifting, vigorous (400 calories)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.