What's the best type of exercise for weight loss?

What's the best type of exercise for weight loss? teaser
Exercise is good for weight loss (and more), that we can all agree on.  But what is the best type of exercise for shedding the kilos?  Is it High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)? Maybe running? Or should you try yoga?  We are always on the hunt for the answer to obesity, but the answer may not be a clear cut as you would like. Let’s look into some common forms of exercise.

 

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Pros
This involves short bouts of high intensity periods followed by a rest period.  The idea behind this is that these high intensity periods cause the body to use more energy for a number of hours (even days) after exercise – sounds great doesn’t it?

Cons
To put it shortly, it’s hard work. This form of exercise generally requires an “all out/maximal effort” approach to achieve the advertised results and if done wrong could potentially increase the risk of injury, thus might not be the best starting point for beginners looking to start exercising.
 

Endurance exercise

Pros
Walking, running, cycling etc… This is one of the most commonly utilised form of exercise as it is simple and normally requires little preparation or thought.  The idea is straight forward, walk/run to burn calories, the faster we walk/run the more calories we burn.

Cons
One of the biggest concerns I have with endurance exercise as a main form of exercise is the ability to plateau.  With all exercise practice makes perfect - the more we do something the better we become at it, which is great if you are looking to run a marathon but not so much if you are trying to lose weight.  The better we become at walking/running, the more we have to do to achieve the same results.
 

Yoga

Pros
One of the oldest forms of exercise has to be good for us! Yoga benefits from having a variety of options so you are likely to find a style that you like.  Benefits of yoga include balance, core strength, flexibility and more. It is also generally a comfortable avenue for exercise due to its low impact nature.

Cons
When it comes to weight management yoga may not trigger the same response from our body as some of the other forms of exercise. Generally we would burn more calories from exercises that also challenge our cardiovascular system.


Resistance Training (Weight Lifting)

Pros
Small increases in muscle mass, increased metabolism, increases in strength.  These are all benefits of resistance exercise and are also changes that are likely to make a positive impact on our waistline.  Commonly weights are thought to be for the grunting, muscular guy at our gym staring at his abs in the mirror, but the real benefits come for those wanting to control their weight. Lifting weights that are challenging can encourage our body to burn fat while exercising and after by increasing our metabolism and thus the amount of calories we burn.  Plateaus are also less common as when an exercise become difficult, increasing the weight is as simple as moving from, for example, 1kg to 2kgs weights.

Cons
Resistance exercise can be overwhelming to start with: what exercise should I do? How heavy should I lift? How often? And this can cause people to put it in the too hard basket.  If the exercises are done incorrectly it can also increase the risk of injury and the fear of this can also cause people to lift lighter weights than they need causing them not to get their desired results.
 

To sum it up, there isn’t one “perfect exercise”. It should be thought of like a balanced diet where everything has its place. Try to get some variety, challenge yourself and if you prefer one form of exercise than feel free to focus on it without feeling guilty as long as you don’t forget the big picture.  To get a better idea of what exercise is best for your situation, consult your GP or seek the help of an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.  
 
360 Health + Community have a team of Accredited Exercise Physiologists all across the Perth metro area to help you get the most out of exercise for your situation. Give us a call on 1300 706 922 to get started.
 
Scott Patrick
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
360 Health + Community
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