Definition of exercise
Physical activity is key to improving the health.

Types of exercises

Exercise and physical activity fall into four basic categories —endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Most people tend to focus on one activity or type of exercise and think they’re doing enough. Each type is different, though. Doing them all will give you more benefits. Mixing it up also helps to reduce boredom and cut your risk of injury.

exercise for weight loss

exercise for weight loss

Some activities fit into more than one category. For example, many endurance activities also build strength. Strength exercises can also help improve balance.


Endurance, or aerobic, activities increase your breathing and heart rate. They keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and improve your overall fitness. Building your endurance makes it easier to carry out many of your everyday activities. Endurance exercises include:

  • Brisk walking or jogging
  • Yard work (mowing, raking, digging)
  • Dancing


Strength exercises make your muscles stronger. They may help you stay independent and carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries. These exercises also are called “strength training” or “resistance training.” Strength exercises include:

  • Lifting weights
  • Using a resistance band
  • Using your own body weight


Balance exercises help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Many lower-body strength exercises will also improve your balance. Balance exercises include:

  • Standing on one foot
  • Heel-to-toe walk
  • Tai Chi


Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay limber. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement for other exercises as well as for your everyday activities, including driving and getting dressed. Flexibility exercises include:

  • Shoulder and upper arm stretch
  • Calf stretch
  • Yoga

Exercise during pregnancy

What is best exercise for losing weight?

  • Aerobic (or endurance) physical activities use large muscle groups (back, chest, and legs) to increase heart rate and breathing for an extended period of time. Examples include bicycling, brisk walking, running, treadmill, and swimming.
  • Since these activities burn a lot of calories, they are better for losing weight although exercise alone is not that useful for losing weight. Learn more on why exercise alone is useless for weight loss.

How much exercise should you get?

Federal guidelines recommend that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of aerobic activity a week

Exercise guidelines

Physical activity guidelines for Americans

W8MD’s insurance weight loss

How can W8MD help?

W8MD’s insurance physician weight loss program is unique in many ways with a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to weight loss that addresses all the complex issues leading to weight gain, both in adults and children. Since its inception in 2011, W8MD has successfully helped thousands of patients succeed in not only losing weight but also keep it off with an ongoing maintenance plan. Learn more…

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Three things wrong with our diet

Exercise for weight loss - frequently asked questions

  • Why am I not losing weight when I exercise?
  • How exercise makes you lose weight?
  • How many days a week should I workout to lose weight?
  • Can you lose weight by exercising at home?
  • Why am I gaining weight while exercising?
  • Why am I gaining weight while dieting and exercising?
  • What exercise burns the most belly fat?
  • What are the 10 best exercises?
  • How can I lose fat quickly?
  • Why am I gaining weight fast?
  • How heavy should I be?
  • Why do I work out so much and not lose weight?
  • How do I flatten my tummy?
  • How can I stop gaining weight?
  • What causes big stomach in females?
  • Can you exercise too much and not lose weight?
  • How can I lose weight in 3 days?
  • How can I reduce my stomach fat?
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