Recently, I have embarked on my own weight loss program and it, of course, involves exercise – the E word, as I like to call it. But exercise alone is not sufficient to lose weight, so if you would like to know what I recommend for getting off that excess fat, take a look here.
However, the purpose of this post is to examine the various forms of exercise that are available to most people and determine which of them is best for the purpose of losing weight. Before we start, you know the usual advice don’t you, about consulting your doctor? Of course, you should use your common sense and make your own decisions. That said, here are the raw facts about exercise and calories:
Walking – around 360 calories/hour
Firstly, let’s take a look at walking. We are talking about walking fast enough to raise the heart rate just a little. It is excellent exercise for most people as it is very low impact and it burns about 360 calories per hour. That’s quite a decent return of your investment of time as it’s more than the 255 calories in a 49g bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Mill chocolate.
Jogging – around 600 calories/hour
Now if you can do a bit of jogging, you can nearly double the calorie burn rate (over walking). So that means you can actually eat a bar of Cadbury’s chocolate and still burn 375 calories if you go for a 1 hour jog. Now jogging for an hour, even at a fairly slow pace probably means that you will be doing about a 10Km distance, so that’s no mean feat if you are not used to it.
Riding a Bike: around 1000 calories/hour
Beginning to step things up a bit here. Naturally, it does depend on how fast you go, but you can be burning up to about 1000 calories per hour via this method. That means, you could have a bar of chocolate and still produce a net loss of 745 calories after an hour of cycling. Are you beginning to think I’m obsessed with chocolate?
Swimming: around 800 calories/hour
Swimming is generally considered to be excellent exercise as it is again low impact. However, as you can see, at 800 calories per hour, it is also an extremely effective exercise for weight loss. You could have a bar of chocolate and a 12 oz Latte (204 calories) afterwards and still end up burning 341 calories – is this beginning to sound interesting?
Dancing: around 500 calories/hour
Finally, dancing is also extremely good exercise at around 500 calories per hour. You probably won’t want a bar of chocolate if you are going dancing, so you could have a 5 ounce glass of Pinot Grigio instead (123 calories) and still end up with a net loss of 377 calories.
Which Exercise is Best?
So after all that, what exactly is the best exercise for weight loss? Of course, it depends on many things including your willingness to not eat the chocolate. But, I would say that swimming comes out as a front runner (if you’ll pardon the pun) for a number of reasons: it is low impact and yet burns calories at a fairly decent rate.
My advice is: don’t join a gym unless you actually like engaging in that kind of physical workout. The truth is that if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t manage to keep it up, and that is a real key to using exercise to lose weight; you need to be doing it, whatever it is for you, regularly.
So the best exercise is the one that suits you best. You have to be able to fit it into your lifestyle. Don’t discount the value of simply doing a bit of extra walking or going dancing a bit more often. They are both very pleasant activities and they are good low impact exercises too.