What is your exercise plan during your weight loss program? Do you have one?

Three of my favourite options effective for weight loss include treadmills, the elliptical and skipping ropes.

Here is why.

It is important that we compare the information so you can determine which option is the best fit and how you might use a mix of these to keep your workout fun and enjoyable.

Treadmills can be great for indoor walking and running in the winter months (to decrease the risk of falls and injuries), however it can create a significant amount of stress on the joints. I recommend that if using a treadmill is preferable to you, be sure to have proper, supportive footwear and try whenever possible to walk/run outdoors to mix it up.

This type of workout is popular for beginners because the intensity level can be completely controlled.

When using a treadmill for your weight loss workout, it is important that you are exercising in your target heart rate. See below for how to determine what your target heart rate is.

Elliptical machines have become quite popular because of the whole body workout that can be achieved with just one machine, in a short time period. With this type of equipment the stress on joints (knees, hips, low back, ankles) is much less and in certain cases can be a better option for individuals with injuries. Although for many people with injuries I recommend the stationary bike (another great option!!).

If you want to get your heart rate up, feel like a kid again and get burning those calories in a fun way, grab a skipping rope. Although it can also be quite hard on the joints, if you can tolerate it, this is such a wonderful cardio option.

All of these suggestions will help you to burn fat and should be done in conjunction with some type of weight training. Your muscles will become more toned and your ability to burn additional calories will increase.

Fitness equipment is easy to find these days at big box stores, specialty stores and online. Be sure to do your research and purchase a piece of equipment that has received 80% positive customer feedback and a good warrantee. Taking the time to do some research will be worth it.

Here is how to determine your Target Heart Rate:

Step 1) Exercise for 5 minutes then find your pulse. It is best located either on your wrist or on the side of your neck. Do not use your thumb; use your index and middle finger together to find the pulse.

Step 2) Count the beats for 30 seconds and then multiply that by 2. This is your heart rate.

Step 3) To determine your target heart rate complete the following equation:                 (220-your age = Target Heart Rate)

A simple way to determine if you are working at a high enough level is the “Talk Test”. If you can talk easily while exercising, you are not working in the ‘target’ zone.

I always recommend mixing up the cardio portion of the workout in order to challenge a wide array of muscles and to keep it fun. If you are bored, it is unlikely you will continue. So mix it up, work hard and lose the weight.