Best Exercises to Lose Weight

Here we look at the best exercises to lose weight, but on this page, we restrict ourselves mostly to those that are the least strenuous. Therefore, this page is primarily about different kinds of mild fitness training (cardio).

It's not about either strength training or intense fitness training (cardio). Along with eating well, all these three kinds of physical training can work well for fat loss.

If you hate working out, this is the page for you! We provide you with a number of good alternatives for mild fitness training, which is the easiest way to work out. Regular physical training works to achieve permanent natural weight loss because it promotes balance.

As we explain in the general section on physical training, for the best exercises to lose weight it's ideal to engage in both strength and intense fitness training if you are serious about permanent fat loss. We also understand that not everyone will do that; if you are in that group, this is the page for you.

The best type of exercises to lose weight

1. Overview

If you need to learn more about the kinds of physical activities available, you'll find a link to the Weight Loss Programs page awaiting you at the bottom of this page.

2. Mild Fitness Training

Since brisk walking is the most popular kind of mild fitness training, we cover it in detail, and provide you with two free walking plans. Further down this page, you'll find the page link to 'Walking for Weight Loss.'

3. Strength Training

We cover strength training in detail in the Strength Training pages of this website. You'll find find the link to the first of those pages awaiting you further down this page.

4.Intense Fitness Training

Intense fitness training is also covered in its own section.

A relevant link to the first page of that topic also awaits you further down this page.

What other mild fitness training work well?

This question is important for those who want to enjoy sufficient mild fitness traning but who, for some reason, find walking unpleasant, difficult, or impossible. If that describes you, this page is for you. (However, it if doesn't, simply use one of the page links listed on our site map/index to go to a page that is more relevant to you.)

When choosing from the best exercises to lose weight you must select ones that you will actually do. It's important to be honest with yourself. It's important to pick a mild fitness activity that is fun or enjoyable for you.

If you select one you don't enjoy, you'll be less likely to do it. This is one reason why walking outdoors is a good selection. At least if you are able to walk in the country or even in a suburb, walking can be quite pleasant—and it makes little difference what the weather is. The Norwegians have a saying: "There's no bad weather—only bad clothing."

Some people, though, just don't enjoy walking outdoors. For them, walking indoors on a treadmill may be an excellent alternative. Still, walking is time-consuming.

Furthermore, doing it on a treadmill can be boring unless you are listening to or watching a program.

At least if you don't jog too intensely, jogging, too, can be very enjoyable, and it takes less time than walking.

If you are too heavy, however, this is probably not a realistic option right now. Even for trim athletes, jogging or running involves a lot of pounding that simply may not be sustainable in one's 50's or beyond.

The very best exercises to lose weight are intense fitness training and strength training. Ideally, do 2 thirty to forty minute workouts of strength training and 2 or 3 brief intense fitness training weekly. One session of thirty to sixty minutes of mild fitness training may be added to that program.

If the above best exercises to lose weight program is too much for you right now, that's alright. Instead, we recommend as a second choice a minimum of 3 thirty to sixty minute mild fitness training sessions weekly. If you want, you may use different activities to keep it interesting.

A paradigmatic walk is one that covers four miles in just under an hour (but not faster than 56 minutes). If you walk on a motorized treadmill, walk at a 1% incline at 4 mph for one hour or at some equivalent incline and speed.

There are plenty of other mild fitness activities that are good substitutes for walking.

Like what?

Cycling is one.

Unlike either walking or running, it doesn't involve any pounding. Due to winds and hills, it can be somewhat difficult to measure.

Still, if you enjoy cycling, it's an excellent option. A good ride is an eight-mile ride in just under 32 minutes (but not faster than 29 minutes); alternatively, ride thirteen miles in just under 75 minutes (but not faster than 70 minutes).

We recommend stationary cycling for intense fitness training. It may also be used for mild fitness training.

Obviously, it has the advantage that it's done indoors. This avoids weather and traffic problems and permits you to listen to, or watch, a program while you train. If you cycle at the equivalent of 20 mph, which is about 75 rpm, you should train for 45 minutes.


Swimming is excellent, but for various reasons we do not recommend it for lasting weight loss. If, however, you really enjoy it, want to use it for mild fitness training, and are able to do it regularly, then go ahead. A good swim is 800 yards in just under 13 minutes 20 seconds (but not faster than 13 minutes); alternatively, swim 1250 yards in under 42 minutes.


Rowing is excellent. If you use it for mild fitness training, row continuously using two oars at 20 strokes per minute for 45 minutes.

An hour of any one of the following three is a good substitute:

  • aerobic dancing, cross-country skiing, or minitrampolining.

There are many other choices that may be used, but the ones we have listed above are the best for natural lasting weight loss.

Circuit weight training is a cross between strength and fitness training, and it doesn't do either one well. If you are like us, you won't enjoy it. Nevertheless, for some people, it seems to work well. If it appeals to you, why not try it?

Because they are simply too hard on your body, we do not recommend either stationary running or rope skipping for your mild fitness training.

If you don't do any strength training, you may use stair climbing for your mild fitness training. If you do strength training, however, since you'll be training your quads during your strength workouts, we don't recommend stair climbing for your mild fitness training.

If you are an athlete, you may use your sport to substitute for mild fitness training. The best sports for this are handball, racketball, squash, basketball, soccer, hockey, and lacrosse. Other sports such as football, volleyball, wrestling, boxing, fencing, and snow skiing may be adequate substitutes if you engage in them long enough, usually 90 to 120 minutes.

Be careful, though, about lying to yourself. We have seen many people play various kinds of competitive games who thought that they were getting more body fat burning benefits than they really were.

To avoid that danger, use engaging in a sport as a reward for exercising rather than a substitute. If you are competitive, performing better at your sport can serve as additional motivation for regular training.

Be kind to yourself!

Please be kind to yourself when considering the best exercises to lose weight. In the present context, if you have not been using the best exercises to lose weight regularly, it's important to work up do doing even mild fitness training slowly.

It may be several months before you are able to walk four miles in an hour several times a week – or its equivalent - without any residual discomfort.

Furthermore, as you begin to become more active, initially only do the minimum. Once you are doing the minimum mild fitness training, you may add more activity if you want.

Whatever exercise you do, mild fitness training involves keeping your heart rate between 60 and 65% of maximum for at least 30 consecutive minutes. (If you do it less than about 20 minutes, your body won't be burning fat.)

So please use a heart rate monitor and watch that your heart rate doesn't go too high. (Never go over 85% of maximum.)

The physical keys to achieving lasting weight loss are excellent nutrition in conjunction with the best exercise to lose weight.

It is possible to achieve lasting natural weight loss without doing any fitness training. If you simply hate cardio, then just do strength training.

If you are interested in only doing strength training, we refer you to a program for doing exactly that in our best 'Exercises to Lose Weight' section. You will find those page links listed on our site map/index, which is at the bottom of the menu/navigation buttons to the left of this page.

On the other hand, too many people make the mistake of doing too much fitness training. For example, recently a forty-year-old next-door neighbor mentioned that she'd been seriously training for months to run a half-marathon and hadn't lost a single pound!

We have known many people, especially women, who do all kinds of fitness training and no strength training whatsoever.

If you are like that, please realize that strength training is more fun than fitness training as well as much more beneficial in terms of increasing lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass is your metabolic furnace.

Proper strength training will increase it, as will, to a lesser extent, intense cardio. Furthermore, your body will burn fat for up to 40 hours after working out doing strength training or intense cardio!

Mild cardio is good, but please consider doing more if you enjoy it. For fat loss, doing strength training and mild cardio is better than only doing mild cardio.

Mild fitness training is beneficial, but keep it in perspective.

Click on the Intense Fitness Training link, listed further down this page, to learn about how we recommend you initially do intense fitness training as one of the best exercises to lose weight.

Best exercises to lose weight, related pages

As mentioned earlier on this page, if you need to learn more about the best exercises to lose weight, see our free programs via the page links on our site map/index, listed at the bottom of the menu/navigation buttons to the left of this page.

Strength training is covered in detail in its own section. So too is walking for weight loss. There are two free walking for weight loss plans (one harder plan and one easier plan) to get you started or to advance you further. Intense fitness activity is also covered in its own section.

You will find the direct links to those pages on our site map/index, which is at the bottom of the menu/navigation buttons to the left of your screen.

Alternatively, use the links below to go to:

1. Mild Fitness Training (this one is 'walking to lose weight' -- one easier plan and one slightly harder plan

2. Or, Intense Fitness Training (this is brief, but intense, running or similar)

3. Strength Training Plans (here there is a choice for either beginners or intermediates)

Walking to Lose Weight

Running is one of the best exercises to lose weight

Strength Training

For the 'FAT BURNING EXERCISES' page, which is the first page in this section of our website, the page link awaits you immediately beneath 'Books for the Best Exercises to Lose Weight,' which is directly below.

Books for the best exercises to lose weight

  • Lauren & Clark's You Are Your Own Gym
  • Sears's P.A.C.E.

› Best to lose weight

If you are now looking for more about the best exercises to lose weight, you can search our website or the World Wide Web.


Useful external resources relating to this topic

Strength and flexibility help to increase muscle strength, maintain bone density, and improve balance. See the National Health Service link below for an interesting article.

Improve strength and flexibility

Best exercises to lose weight helpful videos

First, if you want to supplement mild fitness training with 'strength training without weights,' here is a useful video 'You Are Your Own Gym.'

Second, when you are ready to move on from mild fitness training to something more intense, here is a useful video about P.A.C.E

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