Finding out what exercise is best for weight loss can be a soul destroying quest. So many opinions and suggestions. They can't all be right can they?
Millions of people want to know what exercise is best for weight loss. But if they look at the information available on TV, on the internet and in magazines they could easily become overwhelmed by all of the opinions. Ask 100 health experts and you'll get at least 110 different opinions! It could easily drive you insane...
Part of the reason that this is such a difficult question to answer is that we are all different. Over 6 billion people live on our planet and no two of them are identical - even 'identical twins' have some differences.
Also, the question of weight loss is a misleading one. What most people want to know is how to lose excess body fat. Losing weight is easy. Stop drinking any liquid - you will lose weight. It's really bad for your health, so I would not recommend it, but if weight loss is your aim, it works (until it kills you!).
So a better question is 'what exercise is best for fat loss?' Again you can probably find a million different answers, but if you look into the facts behind the answers everything becomes clearer. In order to lose body fat, you need to do some aerobic exercise to burn up the calories in the fat. We'll come back to the exercise bit in a minute.
The key trick is that you must burn the calories in such a way that you do not send your body into starvation mode.
Our ancestors lived in times when food shortages were rife (many people in the world still live with the same problem). Fortunately, our bodies cope with a shortage of food by reducing the amount of food they need. They start to lose muscle mass and the metabolism slows down - that's 'starvation mode'. Then, even with a reduced calorific intake, the body can survive. Unfortunately, if you try to diet by cutting calories you can easily slip into starvation mode, so even though you are reducing your calorie intake, you stop losing weight. This is why so many people reach a plateau when they 'go on a diet'.
To achieve genuine, lasting fat loss, you need:
To increase your level of aerobic exercise to burn more calories To control your eating habits so that you get enough nutrition, without consuming too many, or too few calories To be realistic. Losing 10 pounds in a week may sound great. But if you do lose weight that fast it's going to be water and muscle that you are losing and it will be regained quickly when you stop the crazy diet. You can lose 1 - 2 pounds of fat every week by following a sensible plan.
One to two pounds a week not enough for you? Well if you'd started last year you could have lost 100 pounds of fat by now! If you needed to lose 100 pounds, can you imagine how good you would feel now you've succeeded?
The exact exercise which is best for your weight loss depends on you. If you have not exercised for years, starting to run half marathons is going to be too much of a strain. Have that as a target for a few months time. The key thing is that it's aerobic exercise. Also known as endurance exercise, we are talking about the sort of exercise that goes on for some time -ideally 30 minutes per day, and makes you warmer increases you pulse and gets you breathing more heavily.
Start with something you can do, like walking or swimming, and build up. Most importantly do something that you enjoy. If you don't enjoy what you are doing, you are not going to continue doing it. And for all weight loss, consistency is the key. Keep doing some exercise every day and you will soon have lost significant amounts of body fat. In just 3 months you could lose 25 pounds, and then you really will start to feel fitter and more confident about your body.