7 of the Most Effective Exercise Activities for Weight Loss

Douglas Healy
4 min readFeb 2, 2022

Obesity is a growing problem around the world, including in the United States, where 34 percent of adults and up to 20 percent of children and adolescents are obese.

The problem affects people from every segment of the population, increasing the risk of chronic disease in both adults and children. The U.S. government has taken steps to try to increase public awareness and persuade people to become more active. Nevertheless, obesity continues to be one of the most challenging public health issues ever faced by society.

Obesity stems from a combination of individual factors and causes, genetics and lifestyle choices. Dietary patterns, medication use, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles all play a part.

Carrying too much weight has a variety of health implications, placing a strain on muscles, joints, and bones, not to mention the heart. Associated health conditions include cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, and stroke, high cholesterol, gallbladder disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, cancer, and various forms of mental illness, including anxiety and depression.

Being overweight or obese can negatively impact not only physical wellbeing, but also quality of life. In this article, we look at seven types of exercise that facilitate weight loss and healthfulness.

1. Rowing

According to Harvard Health, a 70-kilogram rowing at a moderate speed for half an hour will burn around 260 calories.

Unlike running or cycling, rowing recruits muscles in both the upper and lower body. In fact, when undertaken correctly, it works around 85 percent of all the body’s muscles, making for a great workout overall. Low impact and friendly on joints, virtually every major muscle group is worked with each stroke, culminating in an impressive calorie burn, making rowing an excellent option for those seeking to lose weight.

2. Strength Training

Once people reach their 30s, their metabolism generally starts to slow down. Strength training can rev it up again, as well as facilitate the development of lean muscle. The more muscle a person has, the less fat they can carry, meaning that their metabolism runs higher, burning more calories.

Resistance training can also help forestall osteoporosis. According to experts, bone grows according to the forces placed upon it, meaning that those who lift heavy weights typically benefit from stronger bones.

3. Swimming

Swimming can be a fun way of getting into shape, with the average 70-kilo person burning around 372 calories for every 30 minutes of breaststroke, while backstroke burns 298 calories every half an hour. Butterfly stroke, on the other hand, burns an impressive 409 calories every 30 minutes.

One study of middle-aged women revealed that those who undertook three 60-minute swimming sessions per week reduced not only their body fat, but also several heart disease risk factors, including blood triglycerides and cholesterol. Since swimming is low impact, it is a particularly appropriate form of exercise for people with joint pain or injuries.

4. Spinning

Burning up to 841 calories an hour, spinning is a great no-impact form of cardio that strengthens the hamstrings and knees. Moreover, it can help those with knee issues or pain to burn calories, tone muscles, and lose weight.

According to the Journal of Education and Training Studies, incorporating intervals on an exercise bike into your fitness routine can be particularly effective for reducing body fat.

5. Yoga

People tend not to think of yoga as a weight loss exercise, but it can actually be a very effective way of building muscle and burning calories. In fact, a 70-kilo person practicing Hatha yoga for half an hour burns approximately 149 calories.

Yoga confers a myriad of health benefits, from increasing strength and flexibility to improving sleep quality and alleviating stress and anxiety.

6. Running

Whether at home on a treadmill, on the road, or cross-country, running is a simple yet effective way to burn calories. Interval training in particular helps the miles and minutes to pass quickly.

As running coach Natalie Dorset points out, the best way to burn calories is by varying your workouts, including bursts of fast running and mixing up the types of running.

7. Walking

Putting less stress on the joints than running, this low-impact form of exercise is an ideal way for beginners to commence a fitness regimen without becoming overwhelmed or needing to buy expensive equipment. For every 30 minutes a 70-kilo person walks at a moderate pace, they burn around 167 calories.

One study of women with obesity revealed that walking for up to 70 minutes three times a week for three months reduced waist circumference and body fat by an average of 1.1 inches and 1.5 percent, respectively.



Douglas Healy

Douglas Healy is a Springfield, Missouri-based attorney with nearly 20 years of legal experience.