Exercise is an important part of any weight loss regimen. But with busy schedules, we all want to know which exercises will help us lose the most weight quickly.
Broadly, there are two types of exercises: aerobic and strength training (or anaerobic), and each one contributes differently to weight loss. Aerobic exercise burns fat calories while you are engaged in the exercise itself. On the other hand, strength training primarily contributes to weight loss by helping to increase the speed of your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is the number of calories your body burns while you are at rest. Your RMR actually increases (i.e., burns more calories) the more muscular your body is because it takes much more energy to maintain muscles than it does to maintain fat.
Important note: remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so some strength training exercises will make you healthier and more attractive while not necessarily contributing to weight loss. But, muscles are a “good” kind of weight and you should aim to build more muscle in order to help keep body fat at bay.
Here are 5 tips for exercises – both aerobic and strength training – you can do at home to lose weight quickly.
Tip #1: Squats: Your buttocks and leg muscles are the largest muscles in your body. Every day in front of the mirror, put your feet at shoulder width while facing forward and squat down-and-up 10-20 times for 2 or 3 sets. This will build your leg and buttock muscles. As you build up strength, try holding 2 or 5 pound dumbbells in your hands while you work out. Be sure to warm up first, and stop if you notice any sharp pain in your knees.
Tip #2: Pushups: Pushups are a form of strength training: during a pushup your arms have to support up to 70% of your body weight. Do 2 or 3 sets of 20 pushups to build arm strength and increase your RMR.
Tip #3: Jumping jacks: Jumping jacks are an excellent whole-body aerobic workout you can do right at home. Do 4 or 5 sets of 20 jumping jacks, or as needed. Hint: if you live in an apartment or stay in a second-story bedroom, be considerate of your neighbors by going outside or doing these in a first story room.
Tip #4: Fast walking: While walking is in itself a great aerobic exercise, fast walking is even better for burning fat. Make sure you really stretch first and warm up with regular walking. Once you start your faster walking pace, try to maintain as much speed as possible for as long as you can. If you get tired, try doing intervals of fast walking followed by short periods of slower walking.
Tip #5: Stepping: Stepping is a great way to get your heart beating and to burn calories. You can use your stairs at home, but for best results I suggest buying specialized stackable step mats and stack them up to at least 15 inches (38 cm). Do 2 to 3 sets of 20 steps each to begin. Even though you may not feel like the stepping is helping, it is! This exercise will not only help you lose weight but will also help shape up your buttocks and legs.
An important element in a strategy to lose weight quickly at home is to do a combination of exercises that build muscles (strength training) while burning fat (aerobic exercises). Start a regimen of most or all of these exercises 2-3 days/week and watch the unhealthy fat melt away.