As an aid to someone who is a few stone over-weight, which is better...

Object is exercise for maximum weight loss benefits..... 

Or something else, if you have any suggestions....




  • Either. It all depends on the duration and the intensity of the activity as to how much of an energy burden it places on your body. 

    Cycling may be better in terms of less impat on the joints for someone who is carrying a few extra stones, but that's a different matter all together image

    Personally, I'd say an exercise plan that is varied is most beneficial. The body becomes quite efficient at fuelling activity, so by challenging yourself with different exercise types you can maintain a comparatively higher level of energy 'burn'. Running, cycling, swimming, etc. on their own or in combination, but mix up the types of sessions - steady state, intervals, etc. and also add in some resistance training. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, so the more of it you have the higher your BMR - which means your body uses more energy just to keep itself ticking over. If you don't increase your energy intake, the BMR will be fed from body stores = weight (although not solely fat) loss. 

  • Take into account how enjoyable the activity is, too. 

    If you like riding a bike, you're more likely to get out there and do it.

    At the moment I'm enjoying cycling much more than running, so I tend to do short runs, and long rides.


  • Both (ie alternate every day or every few days) - as long as you put the equivalent effort into each

  • If you're short on time then do whatever burns the most calories per hour. Probably something like cross country skiing (or a machine that simulates that).

    If you have lots of time, then do something that you can literally do all day. Walking would be the most obvious example.

  • ok..  another way of looking at it...

    Is 30 minutes of running (or more like a jog/walk) be more beneficial to weight loss than 30 minutes of cycling...?

    Bearing in mind that the person isn't especially used to exercise but is keen to have a go and wants to lose weight...

    Which will burn up calories quicker..?  Or, is a modest level of intensity at either about the same.




  • It does depend on intensity, but easy running would normally burn more cals per hour than easy cycling. But I agree with Wilkie, enjoyment is the most important thing if the person is to keep doing it. So do they prefer walking, running, cycling? Do they have people they could do one with and not the other? If they do it with others and they enjoy it they are more likely to actually achieve their weghtloss goal ..
  • Running burns more calories per hour than most other sports, even if you are going really slowly.

    However, I agree with everyone else that you need to do an enjoyable form of exercise for you and that variety is generally better than getting fixated on one activity.

  • okey dokey...  thanks


  • There is a lot of evidence to support the fact that endurace cardio is NOT the way to lose weight (just look at the number of people who gain weight or stay the same while IM training). The fastest way to fat loss (which is what you want) is weight training. Do the cardio because you want to, or have a race coming up, not to lose weight. You will lose weight initially, but it will soon plateau.
  • Got to disagree with you there Lee.  Strength training plays a part as the more muscle you have the more calories you burn all the time - not just when exercising.  But weight training on its own is not the best way of losing weight.  It might be the best way of losing fat,so if you want to convert that flabby belly to muscle then weights are the way to go.  Otherwise do a mixture of strength and cardio.

  • Another important factor is how hungry the exercise makes you.

    All these things differ from person to person, so it is best to experiment and find your individual solution, but many people find that swimming, for example, is NOT good for weight loss because it makes them really hungry. I find walking better than running in that regard. Weight training is also very good.

  • kittenkat wrote (see)
    How does cross country skiing burn more Kcals than walking?

    See here for calories burnt doing various activities.

    Cross country skiing is damn hard work, that's why they have ski lifts.

  • I heard that cross country skiing was one of the most strenous of exercises.........afetr trying skiing i can understand whyimage

    definitely enjoyment.......and i think variety helps...............also no food rewards for the exercise............the reason why so many of us gain weight when training is that we keep on overcom pensating for the training done........

    if you are only doing 30 mins just don't do anytghing to compensate or reward the exercise

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Whichever activity the individual is least likely to have given up within 6 months.  image

    I'm pretty sure running is up there for "no. of calories burned per hour", but equally I think we can sometimes take for granted that it's a pretty difficult activity to get into, especially for someone who is unfit and/or overweight.  Plus the higher propensity for injury compared to most other activities.  My own experience is that I didn't even want to consider running until I'd reached a certain weight and level of fitness (partly based on the classic misapprehension that "running f*cks up your knees", but that's beside the point!...) but I was happy to ride a bike and/or attend a gym 4/5 times a week over the course of 6 months, mixing up weight, spinning, other cardio...

    It may well be that the person tries out a few different activities, and that one of them becomes a dominant one which becomes more fun/more likely to be persevered with, because (a) they're good at it, (b) they decide to take it up a little more seriously, so that "exercise" becomes "training", (c) they join a club, (d) spend a ridiculous amount of money on a bike/pair of skis/Chinese Wall marathon entry, etc... or all of the above.

    Hopefully you can see where I'm going with this.  If someone asked me what's the best single exercise for weight loss, I'd try to get them to frame the question differently, suggest a mixed approach to exercise involving cardio and strength training, tell them that they're only going to acheive long term sustainable weight loss by sticking with it and being consistent, and wish them good luck.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    ...although as a footnote, whatever mix of exercise they're doing, I might point out that running really can complement many other forms of exercise, is indeed a good time-efficient calorie burner and doesn't require a huge outlay to get going.  (Plus if I knew them personally I could offer a bit of beginner coaching and make sure they don't do themselves a mischief with the classic schoolboy errors.)  image

  • Tom77 wrote (see)
    kittenkat wrote (see)
    How does cross country skiing burn more Kcals than walking?

    See here for calories burnt doing various activities.

    Cross country skiing is damn hard work, that's why they have ski lifts.

    I can confirm that x-c skiing is hard work.  It's also rather boring, until you come to a downhill section, then you have no edges with which to slow yourself down.


  • Duration, intensity, enjoyment. So when it comes to exercise, think DIE image

  • Tom77 wrote (see)
    kittenkat wrote (see)
    How does cross country skiing burn more Kcals than walking?

    See here for calories burnt doing various activities.

    Cross country skiing is damn hard work, that's why they have ski lifts.

    Looking at that link the place to be is the forest, chopping logs

  • Supercaz, when someone talks about wanting to lose weight, surely they mean fat though? As ou said, best way to lose fat is via weight training. I you're losing weight, but not fat then it is either water or muscle mass, and you certainly don't want to lose the latter. I'm not advocating no cardio at all, but just trying to say that weight training is better at shifting fat. While endurance /cardio will help you lose weight (i.e. when you go from doing nothing to doing something), longer term you plateau a lot more, and the more cardio you do, the harder it is to shift the fat. Obviously not eating crap is required too....i've lost some weight through strength and conditioning training, but mostly my lack of weight loss is due to being unable to stop shoving cakes in my mouth. image

    of all the folk i know who have lost a lot weight, they've lost more through strength and conditioning (i.e. weights) with some cardio than through cardio alone. Weights works your heart too, so it isn't as if you're sacrificing one for the other.
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