Your body mass index, or BMI, is a measure of your body fat levels based on your height and weight. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommends that adults have a BMI of approximately 18.5 to 24.9. There are certain types of exercises that can help you achieve a healthy BMI. A healthy weight can help minimize your risk of several obesity-related diseases, including heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
Walking or Jogging
Walking or jogging offers the benefit of decreasing your BMI while improving your cardiovascular health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recommends that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, such as a brisk walk, five days per week. The CDC also recommends five hours of exercise per week for an even greater health benefit. The advantage of these types of cardio workouts are that they are easy to do, do not require any expensive fitness equipment and just about anyone can do it.
Moderate physical activity helps to decrease your BMI by burning calories and increasing your metabolism, so that your body is able to burn calories more efficiently throughout the day. In most cases, a brisk 30-minute walk can burn 300 or more calories, especially if walking on an incline. Using that example, exercising five days a week will lead to a 1,500 weekly calorie burn, or the equivalent of nearly a half pound of body fat.
Many people do not associate resistance training with losing weight, but in fact it is an effective strategy for lowering your BMI. The reason weightlifting or resistance exercises help burn fat is because they help you build muscle, which burns more calories than fat. So, the more muscle you have, the more efficient your body will be at burning calories.
For people looking to burn fat and tighten up their body a bit, lifting weights three days per week is ideal. Each session should last between 30 and 60 minutes. Lift moderate weight, and never try to lift more than you can handle--shoot for 10 to 15 repetitions per set. The best exercises to focus on are compound exercises, which are exercises that work more than one muscle at a time, such as bench presses, squats and deadlifts. The thing you need to consider when implementing a weight training program in an effort to lower your BMI is that because your body may initially put on weight due to the fact you are gaining muscle, your BMI may at first increase. However, within six to eight weeks your BMI should begin to decrease as your body fat is burned and your body becomes tighter.
High Intensity Interval Training
As you become more advanced in the gym and feel you are ready for the next step in lowering your BMI, high intensity interval training, or HIIT, may be just what you’re looking for. HIIT is a training method commonly used by college and professional athletes to help build muscle, increase endurance and lower overall body fat levels.
This training regimen consists of a “rest” and a “work” interval. For instance, you would jog for one minute and then sprint for another minute; you then repeat this cycle five to 10 times in a row. The advantage of this type of training is that it requires very little time out of your day, and it will help lower your BMI relatively quickly--you should see significant results within four weeks.