Exercising to lose weight is a common reason why people choose to make exercise part of their weekly routine (1). Nearly half of American adults in 2013 – 2016 tried to lose weight for one year by exercising, eating less food, and replacing the majority of their meals with more vegetables, fruits, and salads (2). As nutrition also plays a significant role when it comes to losing weight as well, doing the right exercises can help you to lose weight and, and better yet, burn fat (3).
One 12-week study investigated 20 obese women to see if walking had an effect on their abdominal fat, serum cytokines, and insulin resistance (4). Results showed that women had significant reductions in both subcutaneous and visceral fat, and suggests that walking provides an effective and safe lifestyle exercise strategy (5).
So, in a way to help you maximize your time and efforts more efficiently, we’re sharing fat-burning exercises to do at home that can help you lose weight.
Top Exercises To Help Weight Loss
Walking is one of the best exercises for weight loss (6). Not only is walking exercise easy to do, but it can also be done anywhere. Walk in your neighborhood, walk on a home treadmill, walk on a machine at your local gym, etc. It’s an exercise that is low-impact and doesn’t require strenuous work. Depending on your weight, you can burn up to 189 calories while walking at 4mph for 30 minutes (7).
Additionally, brisk walking reduces belly fat (8). One study shows that people who walked for 1 hour 5 times per week while eating a healthy diet lost significant body fat and inches off their waistline, versus those who did not exercise and focused solely on eating a healthy diet did not see any weight loss results.
Get started with either of these walking workouts for weight loss, courtesy of Verywell Fit (9):
Short Walking Workout
- Warm up at an easy pace for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Speed up to a brisk walk at the target pace for 30 minutes.
- Slow to an easy pace for 3 to 5 minutes.
- You may want to do a gentle stretching routine after your warm-up or after you finish your walk.
Long Walking Workout
- Warm-up for 5 minutes at an easy pace.
- Walk at a brisk walking pace for 60 minutes.
- Slow to an easy pace for 5 minutes.
Running is a great exercise strategy to help lose weight and can be easily incorporated into any workout routine. As running burns more calories than most exercises, it also targets harmful belly fat and helps to reduce deaths of heart disease, lowers blood sugar, and regulates appetite during and after exercise (10, 11, 12, 13).
Also, high-intensity running continues to help you burn calories even after you’ve finished your workout (14). Known as the “afterburn effect”, your body requires more energy after you’re done running to help your muscles recover; thus helping you burn significantly more calories over time.
If you’re just starting out with running, try ‘The Walk-Run Ratio’ by former Olympic runner, Jeff Galloway. On WebMd, he shares that beginner runners should run for 5 to 10 seconds out of every minute, then walk for the rest of the minute (15). With time, this walk and run ratio will help strengthen your muscles and help your joints to adjust to a new running routine.
3. Weight Lifting
Weight lifting can be used as a strategy to lose weight due to its promotion of building muscle, which results in burning more calories at rest. As muscle burns more calories and fat at rest than other tissues, weight training is an effective way to increase the amount of calories you burn even after your workout (16).
In fact, Health Harvard says that weight lifting in general can make a 155-pound person burn 108 calories in just 30 minutes (17). And if you increase the intensity of the exercise and do vigorous weight lifting, you will burn 216 calories in just 30 minutes.
Weight Lifting Exercises
Try these weight lifting exercises that are perfect for beginners from Active (18):
- Chest Press
- Shoulder Press
4. Interval Training
Interval training is short bursts of intense exercise that alternates with recovery periods (19). Popularly known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), each burst lasts about 30 seconds followed by a recovery period of 1 to 2 minutes.
Because of its intense nature, a person can burn more calories in a shorter period of time compared to a person who does a steady-state exercise program (20). To prove this, a study was conducted on 9 active men who performed 4 exercises. One training method they used was to do HIIT on a hydraulic resistance system, repeating intervals of 20 seconds at their maximum effort followed by 40 seconds of recovery. Researchers proved that doing a HIIT session is more beneficial to individuals who are more limited on time, yet want to experience calorie-burning benefits, as well as resistance and cardiovascular benefits of the exercise.
Convinced but not sure where to start? Try these interval training workouts from Shape (21).
Interval Training Workout – With Machine
- Warm-up for 15 minutes.
- Run, bike, or row for 3 minutes at 90 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate (should feel like 8.5 or 9 on a scale of 1 to 10).
- Take 3 minutes [of] active recovery (you’re still moving but at an easy pace) and repeat the 3 on/3 off pattern 3 to 4 more times.
- Finish with a 10-minute cooldown.
Interval Training Workout – Without Machine
- Stand with feet wide, toes turned out slightly, elbows bent by sides, fists near chin.
- Lower into a squat and, keeping fists near chin, hinge forward from hips until torso is near parallel to floor; then fluidly sweep torso to the right as you straighten up (as if ducking a punch).
- Return to center squat and repeat, this time ducking to the left.
- Continue alternating sides for 45 seconds.
Single-Leg Mountain Climbers
- Start in full plank position, balancing on palms and toes, body forming a straight line.
- Pull left knee in toward chest, keeping right leg extended.
- Keeping palms planted firmly on ground and left knee tucked into chest, jump right leg forward.
- Jump right leg back to full plank position.
- Continue hopping forward and back with [your] right leg for 30 seconds.
- Switch legs for [the] second set.
Important Factors That Affect Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight, the process is not a one-size-fits-all approach. As we all have different body shapes and types, it’s only right to keep them in mind when you don’t see favorable results right away or reach a plateau.
Factors you should consider that influence weight loss and body weight:
Losing weight can be achieved by making healthy choices and staying active with regular exercise (29). And don’t forget to enjoy yourself along the way! Choose an exercise that you can have fun with because consistency will make all the difference when it comes to seeing results (30).
Remember to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have a preexisting condition. Be safe and have fun!