When you combine the words “exercise” and “losing weight” in your mind, it may conjure images of people miserably slogging through rounds of burpees in pools of sweat like you’d see on TV shows like The Biggest Loser. And while hardcore exercises such as running, doing deadlifts, and performing HIIT exercises are all really great ways to burn fat and lose weight, you don’t have to be going to the extreme with your regimen to lose a few pounds. In fact, there are plenty of great types of exercise that secretly masquerade as “fun” but are in reality excellent ways to lose weight. To know what they are, read on, because here are just a handful of them. And for more great workouts you should try now, don’t miss The Secret Exercise Trick for Flatter Abs After 40.
Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, a Harvard-educated physician and obesity specialist, is a major proponent of jumping on a trampoline—in fitness terms, also known as “rebounding”—for helping lose weight, especially among obese people. “The trampoline is low impact on joints,” she says. “Using a fitness trampoline can help for those that may have excess weight or may have joint issues associated with the excess weight. Also, it is quite a fun activity to engage in!”
According to NASA, jumping on a trampoline is more effective at building muscle mass—which helps you lose weight—than running. Further studies have found that rebounding is terrific for balance, helping with back pain, controlling your blood sugar, and helping you lose weight. And for more great workout advice, see why Science Says This Is the Single Best Abs Exercise You Can Do.
You probably know that rock climbing looks hard. You definitely know that it looks super cool. But until now you probably didn’t associate this heavily upper-body activity with the words “weight loss.” But it’s true: You can climb your way to less pounds.
Though there’s far more to it than this, rock climbing is at heart a strength-training exercise: You’re constantly using your body’s major muscle groups in the ways you would lift weights. More muscle growth means more calorie burn, and you’ll burn a ton of calories while fighting your way up a rock face. You’ll work your core, your arms, your glutes, and your back. “Rock climbing is an excellent way to drop a few pounds,” says WebMD.
Also, have you noticed that all avid rock climbers are … super skinny? Some of that is genetics, but some of that is because they climb rocks for fun. “Rock climbing is one of the most strenuous sporting activities you can do,” writes Rock Climbing Central. “It requires you to use your hands and legs to pull and push your body up as you scale the heights.”
If you’re one of those people who still thinks yoga is just “stretching,” you have so much to learn. In addition to all of the things great exercises do—chiefly, burning calories and strengthening your muscles—yoga will sync your mind and your body in ways that will ultimately help you shed pounds.
“Yoga creates a deeper awareness of your physical and mental state, linking the breath to the movement of the poses (asanas),” yoga teacher Alexandra Baldi explained to Women’s Health UK. “This deeper awareness creates mindfulness and a greater intuition with your body, two key factors essential for weight loss; whether it’s making healthier eating choices or knowing when to pull back to prevent too much cortisol in the body, a serious detriment to weight loss.”
Say what you will about the culture or the clothes, but if you walk and carry your bag, golf can be a tremendous workout that can help you lose weight. Recently, the folks at the UK-based website Skilled Golf took historical research data from Harvard University and combined it with other datasets they analyzed to reveal which of these more “leisure” sports are especially great at burning calories in a more real-world setting. By their calculation, if you were to walk a full 18 holes while carrying your own clubs, which usually takes roughly four hours, Skilled Golf estimates that an “average, healthy, and able-bodied person weighing approximately 155 lbs” would burn upwards of 1,640 calories.
If you’re not sold, see how one woman lost 20 pounds playing golf.
Despite what you may have heard from any hardcore distance runners or weightlifters you happen to know, walking—when paired with a healthy diet—is an effective way to lose weight. According to a study published in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry, researchers who studied the effects of walking on obese women found that it was especially effective at reducing belly fat, while also improving the body’s insulin response. Another study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that sedentary men and women between the ages of 40 and 65 managed to lose weight when they walked for 12 miles every week without meaningfully changing their diets. And for more life-changing exercise advice, see here for the Secret Exercise Tricks for Keeping Your Weight Down for Good.