It's not a secret that we have a major weight issue in the United States. Approximately 71.6% of Americans over the age of 20 are either overweight or obese. Many Americans are trying to make changes to eat healthier and exercise. It's estimated that 50% of Americans attempt to lose weight every year.

It can be disheartening when you try everything you can to lose weight and yet still don't see any results. Although nutrition plays a huge part in weight loss, moderate exercise is still recommended not only for weight loss but for overall improved health. Exercise has been linked to other benefits including improved mood, stronger bones, and a reduced risk of many chronic diseases. Here are the best eight exercises you can do to lose weight.

Walking

Walking is great because it is a low impact exercise. It's not going to put a lot of stress on your joints or cause knee pain. Walking is the perfect introductory exercise if you're new to fitness. It's convenient and doesn't require any equipment or memberships.

Harvard Health reported that a 155-pound adult can burn an estimated 167 calories per 30 minutes from moderate pace walking (4 mph). There was another study conducted by a University in Korea that also observed the effects of walking. The 12-week study included 20 women with obesity. The researchers found that women who walked 50-70 minutes 3 times per week reduced body fat and waist circumference by an average of 1.5% and 1.1 inches.

You can easily incorporate more steps into your day by walking during your lunch break, taking the stairs whenever possible, or taking your kids or pets out for extra walks and time outside. If you're just starting to incorporate more exercise into your routine, experts suggest that you start walking for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week. Gradually increase the time and frequency of your walks as you feel stronger.

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Jogging or Running

If you've been walking regularly and feel like you need more of a challenging exercise, you may want to switch up your routine and throw in a jog every once in a while. People may think of running and jogging as the same thing but actually, the key difference between the two is that a jogging pace is considered between 4-6 mph and a running pace is considered faster than 6 mph.

Harvard Health reported that a 155-pound adult burns an estimated 298 calories per 30 minutes of jogging or 372 calories per 30 minutes of running. Although you can't spot reduce, studies have shown that both jogging and running can help burn harmful visceral fat (aka belly fat). This type of fat that wraps around your internal organs has been linked to various chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Experts recommend that when you first get started, aim to jog for 20-30 minutes 3-4 times per week. If you find that jogging or running outside causes pain to your joints, trying running on softer surfaces such as grass or treadmills with built-in cushioning.

Cycling

Cycling is a popular exercise that can be done outdoors on a traditional bike or indoors on a stationary bike. If you really want to push yourself, try signing up for a spinning class. They typically turn down the lights and play fun, fast-paced music to help you get in the zone.

Harvard Health estimates that a 155-pound adult burns around 260 calories per 30 minutes of cycling on a stationary bike at a moderate pace or 298 calories per 30 minutes on a bicycle at a moderate pace of 12-13.9 mph. Cycling regularly also offers many other benefits besides weight loss including better overall fitness, increased insulin sensitivity, and a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and death compared to those who don't cycle regularly.

Cycling is another exercise that is great for beginners because it is low-impact and non-weight-bearing!

Weight Training

Many people don't know that weight training increases your resting metabolic rate (RMR) so your body is actually still burning calories even after you finish your workout. It can be a bit intimidating going to a gym and not knowing how to use the free weights, however, there are a plethora of Youtube tutorials from certified personal trainers that can teach you different exercises to do.

Harvard Health estimated that a 155-pound adult can burn around 112 calories per 30 minutes of weight training. A 6-month long study showed that by doing 11 minutes of strength-based exercises 3 times per week resulted in an average increase of 7.4% in metabolic rate. That increase was equivalent to burning an extra 125 calories per day.

A different study which was conducted by the University of Maryland found that 24 weeks of weight training led to an increase of 9% in metabolic rate among men. That is equal to burning an extra 140 more calories per day. The increase in the women's metabolic rate was almost 4% (extra 50 calories burned per day).

Interval Training

Interval training is another term used for HITT (high-intensity interval training). This includes short bursts of high-intensity exercises with short recovery periods. A typical HIIT workout will last around 10-30 minutes and can burn a lot of calories.

A study of 9 active adult men found that HIIT burned 25-30% more calories per minute than other exercises including weight training, cycling, and treadmill running. So if your excuse is that you can't exercise because you don't have the time, then you should try HIIT because it's the most time-efficient exercise.

Other studies have shown that HIIT is especially effective at burning belly fat. You can create your own HIIT workout by choosing an exercise such as running or biking and then choosing your exercise and rest times. For example, if you chose biking, pedal as fast as you can for 30 seconds and then pedal slowly for 1-2 minutes to recover. Repeat this for 10-30 minutes for a full HIIT workout.

Swimming

Swimming is another low-impact exercise which means happy joints. It is a great exercise option for those who have injuries or joint pain. Make sure to check with your doctor before starting any new fitness plan.

Harvard Health reported that a 155-pound adult can burn 233 calories per half hour of swimming. This depends greatly on the type of swimming you do. For example, during a 30 minute period, a 155-pound adult can burn around 298 calories doing the backstroke, 372 calories doing the butterfly, and 372 calories treading water.

A 12-week study that observed 24 middle-aged women discovered that swimming for 60 minutes 3 times per week greatly reduced body fat, improved flexibility, and reduced heart disease risk factors, including high total cholesterol and blood triglycerides.

Yoga and Pilates

These two forms of exercise are great for losing weight as well as relieving stress and building lean muscle. The amount of calories you burn depends on which exercise you do and your skill level. According to Harvard Health, a 155-pound adult burns around 149 calories per 30 minutes of yoga. They also would burn 108 calories per 30 minutes of beginner pilates or 168 calories at an advanced level.

One benefit of yoga is that it can help teach you mindfulness. This can help improve your ability to resist unhealthy foods, control overeating, and better understand your body's hunger signals.

Pilates has shown to reduce lower back pain, and improve your strength, balance, flexibility, endurance, and overall fitness.

Aside from exercising, weight loss depends highly on your diet and nutrition. Make sure to eat a balanced and healthy diet as well as incorporate exercises into your weekly schedule. If you're in need of some healthy, low-calorie snacks or meal replacements, check out Smart for Life's wide selection of nutritious products including protein bars, cookies, shakes, and soups. First-time customers will receive 15% off their first purchase. Click here to shop!

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