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What is the Best Exercise To Lose Weight?

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For optimal cardiovascular (and fat-burning) benefits, your aerobic program should bring your heart rate up to 60 to 80 per cent of your maximum rate for 30 minutes at least four times a week. To find out what that rate is, subtract your age from 220; then calculate 60 to 80 percent of that figure. Here are some exercise recommendations to enhance fat loss and improve body composition.

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Resistance Training Goal: Work out with weights for 20 to 40 minutes every other day.

Exercises: Choose two body parts per workout. For example, chest and triceps on Monday, back and biceps on Wednesday, and legs and shoulders on Friday. Vary your exercises and routine to challenge the muscles. Pick two exercises per body part and do two to three sets of that move. For example, do chest presses and dumbbell flies to work the chest. Start off by using a lower weight and doing 15 to 20 repetitions of each move. Over a period of several weeks, increase the weight and lower the repetitions, so you are using a weight that fatigues your muscle in eight to 12 repetitions.

Tips: Before a weight routine, warm up with a set of light weights first to increase blood flow to the muscles and get yourself warmed up. Take the time to do the move properly. Bad technique can lead to injury and make workouts less effective. Be consistent— do not miss a workout. Find a partner for motivation and consistency. Seek the advice of a personal trainer to learn how to use the weights and machines properly.

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Cardiovascular Activity

Goal: 30 to 45 minutes, five times per week.

Exercises: Examples of cardiovascular activities include walking, swimming, biking, aerobics, dancing and rollerblading. Start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your activities. If you can only do five minutes to start, that is fine. With time, endurance improves.

Tips: Pick activities that you enjoy and try to do them first thing in the morning or right after work, preferably on an empty stomach. To increase intensity, add power to the movements. For example, when a brisk 30-minute walk can be done with ease, add hand/ankle weights or travel on an incline.

It is best to exercise on an empty stomach, or after a light snack or protein shake. Try to fit in your workouts in the morning, since you have more energy and will continue to burn calories for several hours afterward. If you can’t exercise in the morning, then try to go during your lunch hour.

Stretching

Although stretching is not the best exercise to lose weight, in the past, stretching was recommended before a workout to reduce your risk of injury and muscle strain. The latest research, however, found that this is not the case. Australian researchers reviewed five studies on the effects of stretching and muscle soreness, and found that it offered no benefits before a workout. However, stretching is not a waste of time—it does help improve flexibility, increase blood flow and relieve pain after a workout. Stretching can also be a relaxing way to end your day and helps to work out tension and knots in the muscles. Take your time when doing a stretch and hold the position for at least ten seconds to get the most benefits.

Beginners, Start Slowly

If you have been sedentary all your life, the prospect of getting active may be intimidating. The most important advice for beginners is to take it slowly. The best exercise to lose weight is a gradual, incremental process. If you do too much too soon, you may injure yourself or become too discouraged to continue.

Start by taking a five-minute walk around the block, to your friend’s house or a store. The next day, walk six or seven minutes. Day by day, steadily increase the time and intensity of your activity. You will build your capacity for physical activity, making it easier to push yourself to the next level. Aim for a total of one hour moderate intensity activity each day.

Make sure you find activities you enjoy, because you are not as likely to stick with something that is not fun. You may need to try a number of activities to find one or two you like. It may be walking, lifting weights, swimming or water exercises, bicycling, racquetball, tennis, dancing, rowing, yoga, kick-boxing or aerobics classes. It may be a combination of any of the above. Remember, activities such as raking leaves, playing with young children, gardening and housework also contribute to greater fitness and weight control.

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