Exercise and Fat Loss

People often ask me what is the best exercise for fat/weight loss. It’s often a difficult question to answer without first discussing the individual advantages and disadvantages of the various exercises available. There are also many personal differences between people that will influence the choice of activities they choose.

Lets examine a few of the most common choices of exercise to see if you are getting the most reward for your efforts.

Walking without a doubt would have to be the most popular activity. Most people find it comfortable and easy to do. You are supporting your whole body weight so therefore it has a high-energy use. It’s not expensive to do and can be done anywhere anytime. The disadvantage with walking is if someone has a lower body injury it can be quite uncomfortable.

Jogging is a great weight loss exercise as it burns a lot of excess energy. It takes less time than walking and it can be addictive. Your cardiovascular fitness will improve at a much higher rate than walking. However jogging can be too intense and uncomfortable for people who are overweight. The increased impact increases the risk of injury significantly.

Swimming is very comfortable, as there is no impact stress placed on the joints. It makes an ideal exercise for people who are severely overweight and find it difficult to do any form of land based activities. Swimming doesn’t burn as much energy as land based activities because your body is supported by the water. It is a great activity for those who suffer from arthritis due to the reduced stress swimming places on your joints.

Cycling is very enjoyable because your body weight is supported; it is ideal for people who are overweight or who suffer lower limb injuries. Most people don’t ride hard or fast enough and they keep their bikes in the easiest gears, which result in a lower energy expenditure. You have to travel about 5 times the distance on a bike to equal the same energy expenditure as running or jogging.

Tennis or golf are very common sports, that if played socially usually don’t expend as much energy as walking or jogging. Both lack continuity, you are always stopping and starting. With tennis unless you play someone of equal skill you don’t usually get much of a workout and the golf buggy has taken the fat burning out of golf.

Aerobics can be enjoyable for some, there is a high rate of energy use combined with muscle toning. It requires a large amount of coordination and a good instructor to reduce the risks of injuries. Not very popular with self-conscious overweight people. Can be too hard and dangerous for the very overweight.

Skipping has a high rate of energy use; it is convenient and doesn’t take up much space. Skipping can get boring after a few minutes, it’s difficult to carry out for long periods and because of the increased impact it increases the risk of injury.

Squash is a very demanding sport with a high rate of energy usage. Not suitable for the very overweight it can be too vigorous and expose the less conditioned participants to many injuries of the back, shoulders and knees. It is recommended for those who are already fit.

Rowing is a great exercise for people with lower limb injuries, it can be portable [Rowing machine] but often gets boring after a few weeks. Unless you’re training at a top athletic level most people don’t burn enough energy to see any significant results.

As you can see each exercise has positives and negatives associated with them. At the end of the day it’s the individuals choice.

Choose an exercise that is easy to do, convenient, doesn’t cost you a lot of money to set up, and you really enjoy. Work hard at improving your performance of the exercise, be consistent and don’t be afraid to vary your routines and try new exercises occasionally.

Remember – “Variety is the spice of life”