So I picked up Harvard Medical School Guides' "No Sweat Exercise Plan: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, and Live Longer" book and it seemed to suggest that any exercise was about as good as another for losing weight. Though to be honest its been a while sense I have read it. So I put the question to the community: is any exercise as good as another as far as weight loss/health?
"Feel free to drop me a line on any hints or grandfatherly advice you might have. I'm doing this on my free time." - from your profile
If you want to get in good shape and look athletic, then become athletic. 1/2 hr walks and a decent diet will only get you so far, theres not really anybody i know who does this that I would consider physically fit or more than borderline healthy - perhaps slim in some cases with people who properly restrict their calories and have a certain set of genes. but the wind could sweep them away! in other words nobody whos in great shape - i.e. strong, fast, a great cardiovascular system, good endurance. It wouldn't make sense that my granny who walks around the block every morning could outrun a sprinter. walks and diet will in the best case make you skinnyfat. you may look alright with clothes on, but...
I'm not telling you to become a sprinter, but if you want to be in decent shape, heres my suggestion;
set up a proper diet. track your macros; IIFYM (if it fits your macros). eat decent foods. as for supplements, only concern yourself with covering your vitamin intake, and fish oils.
sleep, at least 7 hours of healthy sleep per night. more is better, but not in excess of 12.
follow a strength training regime, heres a couple I recommend:
- my only complaint is the low amount of volume, but for a beginner its fine: starting strength
- Stronglifts 5x5 is a great program, the other sections have tons of great info, too.
- Great program, I recommend the "boring but big" template: wendler 5 3 1
- If you have balls of steel, try the 20 Rep Squat Program.
building strength and muscle alone will not make you a rounded athlete. do hill sprints 2-3 times per week to build endurance and conditioning.
These 4 points are really the basis for becoming a good athlete. Lift as heavy as you can without breaking your form, stick to the program, track progression. You'd be surprised how quickly your strength and muscular mass improves if you follow through 100% on these points.
My last piece of advice is that building a better body requires dedication and time, and exercise is not means to an end - its a lifestyle. so throw out your supplement-promoting fitness magazines with get-shredded-in-12-weeks programs that follow a typical bodybuilding split! you're never done, you start and keep going, along the way you will find new goals.
From what I can find regarding the book 'The No Sweat Exercise Plan: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, and Live Longer', it is focused on better eating and doing some moderate amount of exercising - better eating then you are now and more exercising then you are currently doing. Both combined will provide a weight loss plan that is effective. As with any other 'no sweat' plan, the focus is on people who currently are not eating healthy and do no (or very little) exercising....for that community of people, anything works, for a time.
Your question: Does it matter what exercise for health/weight loss - yes and the book has the same advice in it regarding this (there seems to be one section in a book where high metobolism type exercise is recommended - such as jogging, which does cause most people to sweat..). The more you push yourself, the more benefit you will receive. My recommendation is to set some goals for yourself and based on your available time and resources develop a plan to meet those goals. I'm confident that a solid weight lifting program will provide most people with weight loss and basic strength that we all need. If your goal is to get in to an Iron Man competition, then endurance training is best. Simple weight loss? plan a diet you can live with and walk 1/2 hr a day.....so, step one: set some goals...list them here and lets see what we can do to help
For aerobic exercise what would matter is the intensity/duration/frequency, not if it comes from running or biking.
So the short answer is NO.
It would be better if you could combine it with putting on muscle mass (If "losing weight" actually means "loosing fat")
Also it is best if you do something you really can do regularly.
"Every exercise is about as good as another for losing weight"
Good in terms of what?
If you compare the exercise burning thousands of Calories per hour that you totally dislike, with the exercise you can do for hours without losing the fun which burns only a quarter of it, which one is better here?
I think thats what that sentence might want to tell you; it does not matter which exercise you chose as long as you are exercising.