Frequent exercising is one of the key lifestyle changes to adopt in order to lose weight and keep it off for good. Easy weight loss exercises are especially important for beginners as they help build confidence and create life-long habits for well-being.
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Exercising for weight loss
When it comes to weight loss, anything that gets the body moving; from brisk walking to cooking to raking to dusting, etc. is considered physical activity and will definitely help burn calories.
Hard, sweaty exercises are not always needed especially at the beginner level.
Let’s take a look at 9 easy exercises to lose weight for beginners that you can incorporate in your weight loss journey.
Walking is a physical activity that involves lifting and setting down each foot in turns on the ground. Walking is the easiest yet most effective exercise to do for weight loss.
Walking can guarantee the following health benefits;
- Increase blood circulation and improves cardiovascular fitness.
- Strengthens your immune system
- Strengthens your bones and muscles
- Reduces stress and tension
- Keeps you balanced and coordinated
According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, page 16, Table 4, a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns around 230 calories per 30 minutes of walking at a moderate pace of 4.5 mph.
As a beginner, try walking for 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, and then you can increase to 50 to 70 minutes for good results. Also, the faster you walk, the more calories you burn .
Try to fit walking into your daily activities by;
- Taking the stairs
- Taking your dog for a walk
- Choosing to walk home (if you can walk the distance home) or anywhere else.
Swimming is a fun physical activity that helps one move through the water and it is also a fun way to lose weight and get in shape.
“You can lose the same amount of weight swimming as you could by running, but you can do so without the impact, which is great for people with injuries or painful joints,” says Franklin Antoian.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, page 16, Table 4 estimates that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns approximately 255 calories of swimming at low freestyle laps.
When swimming you move your arms and legs to help you move through the water, how you swim influences how many calories you will lose. Swimming vigorously for an hour can burn up to 715 calories.
“Swimming tones your upper body, lower body, and core at the same time, giving you a full-body workout and more overall muscle definition versus other cardio activities like running,” says Stacy Caprio, a former swim coach, and Red Cross water safety instructor.
According to a 12-week study of 24 middle-aged women, swimming for 60 minutes 3 times per week significantly reduced body fat making swimming an easy way of burning calories.
Swimming has the following benefits;
- Swimming keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body
- It helps build endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness
- helps you maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs
- It tones muscles and builds strength
Popularly known as a stress relief exercise, yoga, especially the more active types can help burn a significant amount of fat.
Though it’s not commonly thought of as a weight loss exercise, yoga can also cause your body to use up calories and it equally offers many additional health benefits.
It is highly considered as one of the “easy weight loss exercises at home”.
Harvard Health estimates that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns around 144 calories per 30 minutes of practicing yoga.
A 12-week study of 60 women with obesity found that those who participated in two 90-minute yoga sessions per week experienced greater reductions in waist circumference than those in the control group — by 1.5 inches (3.8 cm), on average.
Additionally, the yoga group experienced improvements in mental and physical well-being.
Aside from burning calories, studies have shown that yoga can teach mindfulness and reduce stress levels. (2).
The National Sleep Foundation says yoga can even help you sleep better.
Most gyms offer yoga classes, but you can practice yoga anywhere. This includes from the comfort of your own home, as there are plenty of fitness apps nowadays.
Jogging is simply running at a steady and slower pace. Jogging and running are excellent weight loss exercises, as they help burn calories more than most other types of exercises.
Actually, the jogging pace is generally between 4–6 mph (6.4–9.7 km/h), while a running pace is faster than 6 mph (9.7 km/h).
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, page 16, Table 4 estimates that a 155-pound (70-kg) person burns approximately 295 calories per 30 minutes of jogging at a 5 mph (8 km/h) pace or 360 calories per 30 minutes of running at a 6 mph (9.7-km/h) pace.
Studies discovered that aerobic exercises like jogging and running can help burn belly fat even without a change in diet .
Studies found that aerobic exercise reduced belly fat without any change in diet. However, training at moderate-to-high intensity was most effective at reducing belly fat .
Jogging and running are can be done anywhere and are easy to incorporate into your weekly routine. To get started, aim to jog for 20–30 minutes 3–4 times per week.
If outdoor jogging or running poses problems to your joints, try running on softer surfaces like grass. Also, many treadmills have built-in cushioning, which may be easier on your joints.
Cycling offers plenty of options as you can choose to do it indoors with a stationary bike or outdoors with a traditional bicycle. Cycling improves your fitness and can help you lose weight.
To lose weight, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) suggests you cycle at a moderately intense level for at least 30 minutes at a time. To burn even more calories, you’ll want to cycle for longer.
Harvard Health estimates that a 155-pound (70 kg) person burns around 252 calories per 30 minutes of cycling on a stationary bike at a moderate pace and 278 calories at a vigorous pace.
Studies have equally found that people who cycle regularly have better overall fitness, increased insulin sensitivity, and a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and death, compared with those who don’t cycle regularly.
6. Weight training
Weight training, a type of strength training that uses weights for resistance is a popular choice for people looking to lose weight.
“Weight training improves your posture, helps your endurance, builds strength, and reduces your chance of injuries,” says Wendy Batts, a regional master instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
A 155-pound (70-kg) person burns roughly 216 calories per 30 minutes of weight lifting, Health Harvard suggests.
Weight training is important in building strength and promoting muscle growth, which can raise your resting metabolic rate (RMR), or how many calories your body burns at rest.
“You don’t have to have a really heavy weight in the beginning, especially if it’s for weight loss,” Batts says.
Though free-weight equipment like; dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls are widely used, you could literarily use your own body weight and the force of gravity in your training.
Spare 10 to 15 minutes of your time and try doing five inclined push-ups, five chair squats, and five walking lunges.
Studies have shown that your body continues to burn calories many hours after a weight-training workout, compared with aerobic exercise.
7. Gardening or Yard work:
Digging, weeding, raking, or mowing is not to be underestimated. These activities can help you burn a significant number of calories.
- 176 calories gardening
- 141 calories raking
- 141 calories mowing
Not everyone loves dancing but if you do, it can be a great way to have fun while burning calories simultaneously.
Dancing is considered a cardio exercise, and so promotes weight loss.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, page 16, Table 4, a 154-pound person can burn up to 165 calories after dancing for just 30 minutes, depending on the type of dance.
Other health benefits of regular cardio exercise, such as dancing, include:
- Increased stamina
- Improved mobility and flexibility
- A better sense of balance
- Improved blood flow
- A stronger immune system
- Better sleep
- Reduced stress
- Reduced risk for certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease
9. House cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking.
Yes, these are physical activities as well and you will need calories to see you through.
The same study carried out by the Calorie Control Council showed that a 155-pound person doing these activities for 30 minutes can burn;
- 106 calories house cleaning
- 106 calories grocery shopping
- 70 calories cooking
While these might not seem like a lot, performing these activities on a daily basis can be an effective calorie-burning strategy.
Plus, doing your grocery shopping and cooking your own meals gives you greater control over the number of calories you eat daily.
The Bottom Line
Physical activity is vital for weight loss and maintenance. However, you must not always hit the gym as there are lots of activities that you can perform from the comfort of your home that will still be beneficial for weight loss.
Keep in mind that your goal is to burn calories and build muscle. So, start slow and do not push yourself too hard.
If you need motivation, support, and encouragement, you could consider working with an online fitness coach. This is a great way to stay focused and not quit.