You may be looking to shed some pounds for a number of reasons. Maybe your extra weight is making you feel sluggish or perhaps you’ve decided to pay closer attention to your overall physical health. Whatever the reason, there are some exercises that are more effective than others in terms of losing weight. Here are the top six exercises to consider. If you combine these exercises into a routine that suits you – say, three of them each week – then this can help you to achieve your weight loss goals. You’ll also notice massive improvements in your fitness and mental and physical health in the process.

1. Strength Training

Strength training bulks you up in terms of muscle mass. But it helps you to slim down, too. This is because lifting weights helps to boost your metabolism and, in turn, burn fat faster. If you’re hitting the gym on a regular basis, you’ll become more toned as a result.

2. Walking

You don’t need to put your body through torture in order to lose pounds. For example, if you walk briskly for just 30 minutes a day, you can burn 150 calories. Walking, of course, is easy and low intensity. So it’s perfect for those who may be starting with little experience in an exercise regimen. For added benefit, take a walk in nature, as this helps to improve your mental health.

3. Squats

You don’t have to squat with a heavy weight on your shoulders in order to benefit from this exercise. When you learn how to do squats properly (no weights needed), you become able to engage your core and your entire lower body. Squats are one of the most effective exercises for burning fat in your thighs and glutes. You can challenge yourself by altering the speed and number of reps, as well as try out new variations, such as jump squats, piston squats, and Hindu squats.

4. Swimming

Swimming is another highly effective way to lose weight and build strength. If you swim for around an hour doing breaststroke or freestyle, you can expect to lose 500-700 calories. What makes swimming such an appealing exercise for weight loss is that it involves all of the major muscle groups, including the abdominals, back muscles, arms, legs, hips, and glutes. Swimming could be your main form of exercise, although it also complements walking and running. Moreover, swimming is an exercise that can be done in nature, which is likely to improve your mental well-being.

5. Yoga

There are different yoga poses that can help you burn fat and trim inches. Particularly effective poses include:

  • Boat pose
  • Plank pose
  • Upward-facing dog pose
  • Upward plank pose
  • Extended side angle pose
  • Seated forward bend
  • Warrior II pose

6. High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is perhaps the fastest way to lose weight; however, as the name suggests, it is a pretty intense form of exercise. HIIT involves short intervals of exercise at close to your maximum effort. This is then followed by longer periods of recovery. Of course, how much weight you lose depends on how much effort you put into those short bursts of exercise. High-intensity exercise is extremely effective because it increases the release of growth hormones, which use fat as a form of fuel. This means that 20 minutes of HIIT results in more calories burnt over the course of a day than a long, easy jog.

It’s important to remember that exercise is only one piece of the puzzle. A healthy diet is also essential for losing weight. So be sure to cut down on processed, fatty, and sugar-heavy food, and up your intake of complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. A consistent exercise routine combined with a balanced, nutritious diet is the most effective way to lose weight.