The Best Exercises for Weight Loss in 2024

Published on Oct 26, 2023 | 1:59 PM

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Alongside dieting, exercise is one of the most fundamental habits you can deploy in your daily life to lose weight and improve your appearance. Whether it's just taking a brisk walk each day or going to the gym and doing something a little more intense, regularly exercising is proven to help keep you physically and mentally healthy. However, when specifically having to do with weight loss, there are some workouts that have proven to be more effective than others.

What is a calorie deficit? 

Before addressing the best exercises for weight loss, it’s important to be familiar with calorie deficits. A calorie deficit means you burn more calories than you consume. Put simply, keeping a calorie deficit through a planned diet and exercise regimen is the only natural way to both stay healthy and lose weight. 

What type of exercise is best for weight loss?

When it comes to losing weight and achieving a calorie deficit, the best way to do so is by exercising or working out every day. Categorized into two groups of aerobic (Means “with oxygen,” exercises involving continuous, rhythmic movement of large muscle groups) and anaerobic (Means “without oxygen,” involves exercises with short bursts of intense, high-energy movements that do not rely on oxygen for energy production) exercises, workouts are generally a combination or isolation of the two based on the goal. When it comes to how many calories you’ll burn per each, the exact number depends on multiple factors like age, weight, and effort. The following are considered the best for weight loss when done in conjunction with a weight loss diet. 

Cardiovascular: Cardiovascular exercises, often referred to as cardio or aerobic exercises, are physical activities that primarily focus on increasing your heart rate and respiratory rate. These exercises aim to improve your cardiovascular system's efficiency, enhance lung and heart health, and help burn calories. Typically the go-to for weight loss, these exercises keep you moving and include: 

  • Running or jogging  
  • Moderate cycling 
  • Freestyle swimming
  • Brisk walking
  • Moderate jump rope
  • Low impact dancing
  • High impact dancing
  • Moderate stationary rowing
  • Stair climbing

High-Intensity Interval Training: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises involve short bursts of intense, maximal-effort activity followed by brief periods of rest or low-intensity recovery. The goal is to push your cardiovascular system to its limits, promote calorie burning, and improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness in a time-efficient manner. HIIT is known for its ability to boost metabolism and offer substantial health benefits, but is meant to be done in intervals as it can be hard on the joints and should be done with care. On average these workouts include: 

  • Sprinting
  • Jump Squats
  • Burpees
  • Tabata Training
  • Cycling Intervals
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Treadmill Sprints
  • Box Jumps
  • Battle Ropes

Flexibility and Balance: Flexibility and balancing exercises are forms of physical activity that improve your range of motion, joint mobility, and stability. They aim to enhance flexibility in your muscles and ligaments while also promoting better balance and coordination. These exercises are important for injury prevention and are typically done before more arduous workouts, but can also be done by themselves to improve posture and overall physical well-being. These can include: 

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Tai Chi
  • Stretching
  • Ballet
  • Gymnastics

Strength Training: Weight training exercises, also known as strength training or resistance exercises, involve lifting weights or using resistance to work against gravity. These exercises aim to build and strengthen muscles, increase bone density, and improve overall physical performance. Weight training can be a valuable component of fitness routines for individuals seeking to enhance muscle mass and strength. These workouts can include: 

  • Bench Press
  • Weighted Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bicep Curls
  • Shoulder Shrugs
  • Lat Pulldowns
  • Leg Press
  • Rows
  • Lunges
  • Tricep Dips

It should be noted that those who have never worked out or choose to go into more extensive workouts like lifting or HIIT, will lose fat, but will ultimately gain weight from muscle development. For those looking to bulk or build muscle and lose weight, it is best to do research and speak to those knowledgeable on the subject, as it can involve complexities in the workouts you do and the calories you have to consume to attain what you’re ultimately looking to achieve. 

How long should I work out a day to lose weight?

The duration of your daily workouts for weight loss depends on several factors, including your fitness level, the intensity of your exercises, and your overall daily activity level. As a general guideline, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, as recommended by health authorities. (1) These exercises can include a daily walk, jog, run, lifting weights, or something else intensive that gets your heart rate up for 30 minutes to an hour each day. 

Getting more specific for weight loss, the time you should work out daily depends on the results you're looking for and the exercises you choose to do. Put simply, it takes 3,500 calories to make a pound in your system and that’s how much you have to burn in order for it to be lost by physical activity alone. An exercise to relate that to is jogging a mile, which for most people will burn 100 calories per mile. (2) On the other hand, if you were to swim a mile, you’d burn around 531 calories, with more calories burned for those that are faster and heavier. (3) For 30 minutes, weight lifting tends to burn fewer calories depending on weight, with most people burning 90 to 126 calories, but does so to strengthen specific muscles. (4) 

Can you lose weight just by exercising?

Theoretically, yes, but it is much more difficult to do so. Losing weight is primarily a battle of patience and time alongside a successful calorie deficit. While exercise plays a crucial role in weight management and can contribute to calorie expenditure, it's challenging to lose weight through exercise alone. A balanced approach that combines both diet and physical activity is proven to be more effective. Exercise can help you burn calories, improve your metabolic rate, and build muscle, which leads to better body composition over time. However, if your calorie intake remains high or you rely solely on exercise without addressing your dietary habits, you may find it difficult to achieve any weight loss at all.

Get weight loss prescription medication through CallonDoc

Those looking to lose weight and struggling with diet and exercise alone should consider prescription weight loss support. Call-On-Doc prescribes both injectable and oral weight loss prescriptions to help those looking to achieve their weight loss goals. Designed to be used alongside dieting and exercising, these medications can help you lose weight and get down to somewhere that can be manageable for the long term.


  1. “How much physical activity do adults need? | Physical Activity.” CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm.
  2. “Adult Obesity Facts | Overweight & Obesity.” CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html.
  3. “How many calories do you burn swimming?” Burned Calories, https://burned-calories.com/swimming.
  4. Wolkin, Amy Elizabeth. “Calories burned lifting weights vs. cardio: Which is better?” Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323922.

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Wayne C. Hahne,

English graduate and Call-On-Doc’s medical resource guide, Wayne C. Hahne is an experienced and passionate medical education content expert. Through diligent research, provider interviews and utilizing the industry's leading resources for wellness information, it is Mr. Hahne’s personal mission to educate the general public on medical conditions with in-depth and easy-to-understand written guides.

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