Most people might answer that question saying aerobic activities such as jogging, swimming or cycling burn the most calories and therefore are most effective for healthy weight loss. At Green Mountain, we encourage you not to focus on burning calories but on doing what you can do consistently. While aerobic activity is important, combining it with strength training helps produce good results for health and healthy weights. What likely produces the best results, however, is having fun…because that means you’ll keep doing it.
How Aerobic Exercise Helps Promote Healthy Weight Loss
Aerobic or cardiovascular activity is any activity that uses the large muscles of the body in movements that are continuous and rhythmical. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), an individual should participate in this type of activity for at least 30 minutes per day, 5 times per week at a moderate intensity. If you want to get the same benefit in less time, the ACSM says to increase the intensity to vigorous, and 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week will do it.
For maximum health benefits, work out in your Target Heart Rate (THR) zone, which is between 60 and 90 percent of your maximum heart rate (calculate your target heart rate here).
After aerobic activity, your metabolism is elevated for anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours depending on the intensity of your workout.
How Strength Training Helps Promote Healthy Weight Loss
With strength or resistance training, however, you build lean muscle mass, which permanently increases your metabolism.
The ACSM recommends between 8 and 10 strength training exercises of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise at least twice per week.
How Having Fun Helps Produce Healthy Weight Loss
Exercise tips for healthy weight loss underscore the combination of cardiovascular training with regular strength training to get optimal results. Remember, too, that if you don’t enjoy it, it’s not likely you’ll continue doing it. None of us want to lose weight only to regain it shortly thereafter. A healthy lifestyle leads to lasting results, and adopting that lifestyle is much more easily achieved when it’s fun.
Ways you can increase the fun factor in your exercise routine include having family join in, taking it outdoors to enjoy the scenery, good music, joining classes to make it more of a social event and changing up your routine (also important to avoid fitness plateaus). And remember, if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it! Find something else.
Finally, we can’t let a discussion of healthy weight loss go by without some mention of the fact that weight loss as a goal in itself can be counterproductive. Even if we’re trying to better manage PCOS or type 2 diabetes or some other reason that legitimately has to do with our health, focusing on getting healthy, and living healthfully, holds much greater promise for achieving our goals
Aerobic exercise is important for health and healthy weights, including management of issues such as PCOS or Type 2 diabetes. Choose something you like and mix it up to keep it interesting! Here’s a list of activities we enjoy.
- Cross Country Skiing
- Ice Skating
- Spinning Class