5 Best Exercise Programs for Weight Loss

August 22, 2012

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exerciseWondering what is the best exercise program for weight loss? Here are some ideas I suggest to my own patients to help them get moving, burn fat, and boost their metabolism to make their weight loss program work more quickly and effectively:

Please note: If you have not been active for some time or if you have any pre-existing health conditions be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.


Walking: Walking is probably the very best exercise program for weight loss. Not only does it not require any special equipment beyond a good pair of walking shoes, it can be done by almost anyone, anywhere, anytime, all year round. Even if all you can do is walk for five extra minutes a day, or just down the hallway if you have limited mobility, start there and work your way up. Aim to walk for 30 minutes a day, several times per week.

Swimming: Did you know that swimming burns up to 500 calories per hour? And for many of my patients who have limited mobility or joint pain, the added buoyancy of water plus its cooling effects help make exercise much more comfortable. Water workouts also build strength thanks to the gentle resistance of moving in water. Check with your community pool to see if they offer water-based workout classes.

Cycling: Cycling either outdoors or on a stationary bike indoors offers another great low-impact exercise program for weight loss. Depending on your speed you can pedal off between 400 and 600 calories per hour. If you loved riding bikes as a child, this might be a great exercise program for you. Live close to work, school, or the store? Consider hopping on your bike instead of driving.

Circuit Training: If you get bored with exercise quickly, consider circuit training. With this workout you switch activities (often between cardio and strength training) every 30 seconds. You’ll not only get a good full body workout, you’ll also burn up to 275 calories in just 30 minutes. Many gyms, community colleges, and community education programs offer circuit training or you can set up your own circuit training routine at home.

Everyday Activity: Believe it or not one of the best exercise programs for weight loss doesn’t involve working out at all but focuses instead on adding in movement throughout your regular day. Small changes such as parking at the furthest spot in the parking lot, carrying groceries in one bag at a time, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, standing instead of sitting, pacing when on the phone, and more can burn hundreds of additional calories a day without ever “working out”.

And finally the best exercise program for weight loss is the one you’ll actually do; regardless of if it burns the most calories per hour. So go ahead and get moving. The weight will come off faster and more easily and you’ll feel more energy, less stress, and be forming good habits that will help you keep the weight off for good.


The Center for Medical Weight Loss


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