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10 best exercises to lose weight

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

If you want to lose weight by exercising you are going to have to put in the effort and the hours. That's why picking the biggest calorie burners makes sense.

A pound in body weight is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Think of that as running for nearly 6 hours! Before you untie your trainers and head for the sofa remember exercise WILL help you lose weight and get toned. Never mind all of its other benefits like keeping you alive longer and making you happier!

It works so much better when you aren't over eating too. Think of it as maths. Burning more calories than you take in equals weight loss!

If you want to maximise your fat burning, cherry pick exercises that give the best results in the shortest time.

A question of balance

We all start from different fitness levels so pick an exercise level that's right for you and build up.

"The harder and more strenuously you exercise, the more calories you burn, but also the quicker you fatigue so it's all about striking a balance," says Glen Davison, exercise physiologist from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Kent.

"You can sprint, which burns lots of calories, but you can't keep it up for that long. So the net gain in calories burned is a lot less than a slower paced exercise," he explains.

When your goal is losing weight you want to exercise as efficiently as possible. Exactly how many calories you burn is affected by how much you weigh, your age, your sex, and genes. Fitness trackers and apps give you a personal tally of calories burned during a bout of activity.

So what are the best types of exercise to blitz the flab?

1. Running

Running is hard work but effective. Whole body exercises that work all of the major muscle groups are the best calorie burners, and running is the ultimate exercise for weight loss.

"For maximum fat burning you need an exercise that gives you the most bang for your buck and running is brilliant for this," says fitness expert Jane Simons, founder of the Winslow Warriors Running Group.

"If you weigh 10 stone, then you'll burn approximately 100 calories for each mile that you run, whatever pace you're doing. So, if you run for an hour at 10 minute mile pace, you'll have shifted 600 calories, which is more than you'd burn in any exercise class or in the gym in the same time frame," explains Jane.

To burn the maximum calories, run faster and go up hills. Incorporate intervals into your run known as 'fartlek' training - Swedish for fast play - and alternate sprinting and running at a slower pace.

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