Consuming too many calories and not getting enough exercise are the key reasons you gain fat all over your body. Other factors play a role, such as the loss of muscle mass and hormonal changes during menopause. However, when combined with a sensible diet, easy workouts you can do in your 20s or 60s can help you shed extra pounds and become slimmer and fitter. Wear a heart rate monitor to make sure you’re working out within your target heart rate zone to burn fat efficiently.
Walking is one of the easiest, most effective workouts you can do to lose weight. Researchers at the University of Miami refer to it as the “cornerstone of behavioral weight-loss programs.” It’s low-impact, so it doesn’t put too much extra pressure on joints already stressed from the extra weight you’re carrying. Even done at a moderate pace -- which means you can still carry on a conversation -- walking can still burn lots of calories when you do it on a regular basis. In the University of Miami study, which was published in the "International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders" in 2002, walking for 30 minutes five days a week or 60 minutes five days a week resulted in significant reductions in body weight, percentage of body fat, body mass index and fat mass.
If you find walking too difficult, cycling indoors or outdoors is another easy workout option. If you’re very overweight or obese, it’s even more comfortable on a recumbent bike, which has a wider seat and is easier to mount. Cycling at an easy pace of less than 10 mph burns more calories than walking briskly. The Nurses’ Health Study II investigated the effects of bicycling and walking on weight loss during a 16-year period between 1989 and 2005. In the study, which was published in the “Archives of Internal Medicine” in 2010, researches found that premenopausal women who previously did not bike in 1989 but increased to as little as five minutes a day in 2005 gained less weight than women who didn’t bike.
This activity isn’t just easy, it’s loads of fun. You may think rollerblading burns fewer calories than cycling or walking because you’re on wheels, but you’d be wrong. During one hour of rollerblading, a 160-lb. person can burn as much as 913 calories -- that’s more than three times the number of calories you’ll burn during walking or cycling. A study published in the “Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine” in 2008 showed that the risk of becoming an overweight adult was most reduced by doing certain wheel-related activities, such as rollerblading or cycling.
If you’ve been inactive for a while or have a medical condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes, consult your doctor before beginning any workout to lose weight. If you have joint problems, such as arthritis, ask your doctor or a physiotherapist for advice on using assistive aids to make it easier to exercise. Always warm up for five to 10 minutes before your workout and spend 10 minutes cooling down afterward. Both your warmup and cooldown can include walking slowly, but you should end your cooldown with static stretches for all your large muscle groups.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders”; Dose-Response Effect Of Walking Exercise On Weight Loss. How Much Is Enough? J. Bond Brill, et al.
- Archives of Internal Medicine; Bicycle Riding, Walking, and Weight Gain in Premenopausal Women; A.C. Lusk, et al.
- Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine; Adolescent Physical Activities as Predictors of Young Adult Weight; D. Menschik, et al.