If losing weight or getting in shape is on your list of New Year’s resolutions this year, the good news is that there are tons of at-home options to help you do so. With many gyms still closed because of the pandemic, finding fun ways to workout by yourself or with a partner is key.
Depending on your fitness level, there are also a ton of low-, medium-, and expert-level workouts that experts say are the best workouts to lose weight. Many require minimal equipment and can be done indoors or out, depending on the weather where you live. Not only does working out help you lose extra pounds you want to get rid of, but there are also added benefits like improved mood, stronger bones, and a lower risk of many chronic diseases.
If you’re just getting started on the workout train, walking can be a fast and effective way to lose weight. It’s one of the most convenient, easiest, and cheapest forms of exercise for beginners to engage in without feeling overwhelmed. It’s also lower-impact, so it won’t put added pressure on your joints. According to Harvard Health, a 155-pound person burns around 167 calories per 30 minutes of walking at a moderate pace of 4 mph. Aim for three times a week and progress from there.
Work up to a jog
Once you feel you’ve worked up your cardio fitness level, try jogging. Both jogging and running are great forms of exercise that can be done anywhere. To get started, aim to jog for 20 to 30 minutes three to four times per week and slowly increase your pace. It won’t take long before you notice a difference in your cardio and your waistline.
Another fun activity that requires minimal equipment is interval training, more commonly known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Basically, it means short bursts of intense exercise that alternate with periods of rest. Typically, a HIIT workout lasts 10 to 30 minutes, and the best part is that it burns a ton of calories in a relatively short space of time. A typical HIIT workout can be as easy as doing jumping jacks for 30 seconds, then resting for 15. Repeat that four times, and then move onto another exercise like pushups, planks, lunges, or wall sits for 30 seconds with the same rest period. There are HIIT apps you can download as well to keep you tracking for time and progress.
Yoga is another lower-impact exercise that can be done with just a mat and a few 2- to 5-pound weights. While it’s not commonly thought of as a weight loss exercise, yoga can burn a fair amount of calories and keep your mind peaceful in the process. Plus, you can work your way up to yoga classes that torch calories, like this 40-minute Pilates and yoga class on YouTube. Harvard Health estimates that a 155-pound person burns around 149 calories per 30 minutes of practicing yoga, but there are definitely classes that boast much more.
Time for a dip?
If you have a pool or body of water nearby, swimming is one of the best workouts for weight loss. Per 30 minutes, a 155-pound person burns 298 calories doing the backstroke, 372 calories doing the breaststroke, 409 calories doing the butterfly, and 372 calories treading water, so you don’t even need to be a solid swimmer to torch some serious calories. Plus, swimming is fun and lower impact, so your joints will thank you.
While many people believe these cardio workouts are the best for weight loss, many experts believe weight training is the way to go. For one, it has a prolonged calorie-burning effect because when you work at a higher intensity, your body needs more oxygen afterward in order to recover and repair muscles. All you need are weights of varying degrees (think 5, 10, 15, and 25 pounds to start) and a weight bench to get started. There are a ton of free online classes to get you started, and before you know it, you’ll start seeing muscles in places you never have before.
The bottom line is that whatever gets you moving and feeling stronger is the exercise you should do. If you don’t love it or find it boring or too easy or hard, you won’t stick to it. Run stairs, buy a jump rope, or recreate your gym class from grade school. It’s not hard to get your heart rate up for a prolonged period of time, and your body and mind will thank you. By next year, you’ll be thanking yourself for sticking with the program.
- Quarantine made dumbbells are hard to find — do these 6 bodyweight workouts
- Is rowing a great new craze or not worth your time?
- These are our top skin care tips for stressful times (and breakouts)
- Our “good enough” guide to staying healthy
- Forget gym equipment — why bodyweight workouts are best for full-body fitness