Best Exercise For Weight Loss

Neighborhood Walking

One of the simplest exercises involves walking out your front door and around your neighborhood. It is free, it is convenient and because it's walking, there is very low risk of injury. Let's look at the pluses and minuses of neighborhood walking:


1.     Convenient

2.     Free

3.     No commute

4.     Get to know your neighbors

5.     Get's you outside

6.     Low impact-low risk of injury



1.     Can be dangerous in a high-crime neighborhood

2.     Dogs can be a problem if neighbors leave them to roam

3.     Traffic can be dangerous if you walk along a busy street

4.     Some neighbors can be jerks

5.     Wintertime cold and darkness can make it very unpleasant


Trail Hiking:

One of the truly great things about life in New Mexico and especially in Albuquerque is that we have easy access to world-class hiking trails. The City of Albuquerque operates a number of "Open Space Parks" on our town's west-side, in the Rio Grande Bosque and throughout the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Just beyond the City's "Open Space" in the Sandias lies the "Sandia Mountain Wilderness". This is land owned by the US Department of Agriculture's "National Forest Service". The Sandia Mountain Wilderness is vast and encompasses essentially all of the mountains' high peaks. It is one of the most beautiful and untouched wilderness areas on Earth and it's right in our own backyard. Most people who live here have never experienced this wilderness, but to look down on the city from the Sandia Crest is one of the great experiences in life.

Equipment Needed for Trail Hiking:

Depending on time of year and how far you plan to hike, you may need to invest in some basic outdoor equipment. Among the things you may need are:

1.     Good-fitting and comfortable footwear. Regardless of type of footwear you elect to use, make sure that the soles are good at gripping rough surfaces.

a.     Walking shoes: You can easily hike in decent walking shoes. I routinely hike to the Sandia Crest in $14 Costco shoes. Keep in mind though that shoes like this do not provide the same ankle support, protection from abrasion and snakebite that boots offer.

b.    Boots: Hiking boots are heavier than shoes but the offer more ankle support and better protection against abrasion and against snakebite. Boots are also better for very steep trails where they bend less and offer a better toe-hold.

2.     Water Carrying Equipment: It's not safe to be in the summer heat without lots of water. It's insane to hike in the wilderness without it. There are several ways to carry water:

a.     Bottle in your hand: The simplest way to bring water is to hold it in your hands. It's simple but annoying.

b.    Bottles in a backpack: Far better is to toss some bottles of water into a small backpack

c.     "Hydration Systems": These are backpacks that hold specially-made water-holding bags. The water bags (bladders) have a plastic tube attached to them that runs out of the backpack and over your shoulder to a mouthpiece that usually hangs at chest-level. The mouthpiece is designed to be water-tight until you gently bite on it at which point you can suck water out of the bladder and take a drink. This allows you to drink any time you like without the hassle of stopping, taking-off a backpack and pulling out a water bottle.

3.     Food: If you plan on hiking longer than about two hours, you should bring food with you.

4.     Hat: Choose one with a wide brim to keep your face out of the sun

5.     Sunscreen: Especially in summer, especially on your nose, ears, cheeks, lips and hands.

6.     Sunglasses

7.     Cell-Phone: For emergencies

8.     Warm Clothing: In winter

9.     Flashlight: Just in case you get caught in darkness.

10.  Map: A decent map of the trails you plan to hike is essential.


Swimming is a nearly perfect exercise because it provide a whole-body and low impact workout. It has the added effect, at least in cold water, of forcing the body to burn fat in order to stay warm. The only problem with swimming is that you have to know how. And you have to have access to a pool.

Water Aerobics:

Water aerobics offer at least the same exercise quality as swimming without the need to know how to swim. The downside here is that you still have to find a pool and find a class.


Biking offers a great aerobic workout and, if pedaling uphill, a very good anaerobic workout of most of the major leg muscles. Here is a list of the pros and the cons of bicycling regularly:

1.     Pro

a.     Excellent aerobic workout

b.    Builds leg muscles

c.     Fun

d.    Can be social or solitary

e.     Great scenery

f.     Can be used as transportation

2.     Con:

a.     Dangerous in traffic

b.    Requires a bike which costs money and needs maintenance

c.     Requires a helmet

d.    Can cause painful bruising of inner thigh in newcomers

e.     Not so fun in rain or during winter

Competitive Athletics:

Competitive sports fall into two categories: one-on-one (teamless) sports like tennis or racquetball and team sports like soccer or softball. There are similarities and differences between the two:

1.     One-on-One Sports: These sport require a single opponent and a venue. Sometimes it can be hard to find both.

2.     Team Sports: These activities require two teams who size depends upon the sport, a venue and often a referee.

Both approaches to competition CAN burn a lot of calories, but it depends heavily upon the sport in question. Here are some competative sports ranked, roughly, by number of calories burned (per hour).

1.     High Calorie Burn

a.     Tennis

b.    Racquetball

c.     Basketball

d.    Soccer

e.     Rugby

f.     Water polo

2.     Moderate Calorie Burn

a.     Volleyball

b.    American football

3.     Low Calorie Burn

a.     Baseball/softball

b.    Golf

c.     Table tennis

d.    Bowling