How to Create a Balanced Workout Routine

Learn how to include three types of exercise to lose weight

Woman doing squats at gym
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What’s the best type of exercise to lose weight? There isn’t one kind of workout that works better than the others. A balanced workout routine should include a combination of three types of exercise for weight loss.

Aerobic Exercise to Lose Weight

Many exercises to lose weight are aerobic. Aerobic exercise can be called cardiovascular training, cardio or simply aerobics. Cardiovascular exercise includes any kind of movement that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe deeply for an extended period of time.

Running is cardiovascular activity, so is swimming, riding a bike and brisk walking. Weight lifting makes your heart rate increase and makes you breathe deeply but not for long enough to qualify as cardio.

Aerobic activity is the core of most balanced workout routines when weight loss is the goal. Why? Because aerobics burns fat and calories. When you participate in cardio training, you put your metabolism into hyper drive and rev up your calorie-burning engine. And if you exercise hard enough, you burn fat and calories both during and after exercise.

Cardiovascular activity also improves the function of your heart and lungs. While this may not directly contribute to weight loss, it will help your body to perform better throughout the day which may help you to remain more active even when you are not exercising. For example, if your heart is healthy, you may be more likely to take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk to the grocery store instead of drive.

These non-exercise physical activities help you to burn more calories all day long.

If you're ready to create a balanced workout routine with aerobic exercise, you can start with a simple walking program for weight loss. As you get more comfortable with your program, include walking intervals to lose weight faster or even distance running for greater fat loss.

Strength Exercises to Lose Weight

Strength training is the kind of exercise that builds healthy muscle tissue. Strong muscles help you to move your body more efficiently. Some people refer to strength training as “lifting weights” but there are simple body weight exercises that qualify as strength training even though they don't involve lifting a dumbbell or a weight plate on a machine. You can even do simple strength training workouts at home.

Sometimes, people who are trying to lose weight will skip weight lifting because the purpose of this type of activity is to add weight to your frame. After all, why would you do weight building exercises to lose weight? But in the long run, adding muscle helps you to lose fat. 

When you build muscle, you increase the amount of lean tissue on your body. A body with more lean muscle mass burns more calories even when it is at rest. For this reason, experts recommend that we include strength training exercises to lose weight more effectively. You don’t have to be bulky and muscular, but a toned tight frame is more likely to have an efficient metabolism.

A body with more muscle also has a better shape than a body that has more fat.

Strength training also becomes particularly important as we age. For many reasons, our metabolism slows as we get older. Many women find that after menopause, weight gain is almost inevitable and weight loss is impossible. But exercisers who continue to build and maintain muscle are less likely to suffer from a slow metabolism and excessive weight gain.

If you're ready to do strength exercises to lose weight, start by doing a simple weight training program at home. Or target your arms,  legs and abs with an easy strength training routine that takes just 15-20 minutes three times per week.

Flexibility Exercises to Lose Weight

Flexibility training is stretching. An effective stretching program takes only a small amount of time and can be done in just about any space. Even so, flexibility training is often the most neglected part of a workout. This is particularly unfortunate because people who stretch enjoy specific benefits that may help them lose weight.

Stretching helps us to maintain good range of motion in our joints and helps our muscles to remain loose and healthy. All of this helps us to move more efficiently during the day and experience less pain from tight muscles or from muscle imbalances. A healthy body is likely to move more and burn more calories.

But the greatest benefit enjoyed by dieters who stretch is that it relieves stress. People who struggle with weight loss often cite emotional eating as a key reason that they cheat on their diets. If dieters can find a healthier way to relieve stress then they may be able to use it as a preventative solution to eliminate binge eating or cheating when their emotions get the best of them.

And lastly, if you include quiet meditation in your stretching program, it may help you to sleep better at night. Why does that matter? Studies have shown that people who are well rested are more likely to make better food choices than people who are tired.

Ready to include stretching in your balanced workout routine? Start with a simple plan that you can do in your bedroom, at the gym or outside at any time during the day.

Combine 3 Types of Exercise Into a Balanced Workout Routine

Now that you know why each kind of training matters, be sure that you include each type of training into your complete weekly plan. It doesn’t require a huge time investment. If you currently participate in some aerobic activity on most days of the week, add 15-30 minutes of strength training on two of those days and just 10 minutes of stretching at the end of each session. This small time investment may help you to enjoy big rewards when it’s time to step on the scale.

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