HomeWeight ManagementExercise Can Help Keep Off Pounds

Exercise Can Help Keep Off Pounds

Exercise and good nutrition work together to keep you healthy. Regular physical activity helps control your appetite and burns off calories to help lose extra pounds or maintain a healthy weight. You need to burn off 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose one pound. If you want to lose weight, regular physical activity can help you in either of two ways. First you can eat your normal amount of calories but be more active. For example a 200 pound person can keep eating the same amount of calories but decide to walk 1½ miles briskly every day. This will result in a weight loss of about 14 pounds in one year. Or second, the person could take the same brisk walk AND reduce the calories eaten every day and lose an extra 26 pounds in the year.

Exercise is Key to Disease Prevention:

the truth is the cost of not exercising is pretty high. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for the development of disease. The good news is that you don't have to start running marathons to reap the benefits of disease prevention.

Regular exercise can:
  • lower your blood pressure
  • help you to cut down or stop smoking
  • prevent diabetes or decrease the need for diabetes medication
  • help you lose weight or stay at a reasonable weight
  • raise your HDL (good) cholesterol
  • maintain bone health
  • reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
  • help you sleep better
  • promote a feeling of well being
  • reduce risk of some kinds of cancer
How much is enough?

You should try to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily.

Should You See Your Doctor Before Exercising?

Most people don't need to see their doctor before starting to become more physically active. However, if you have one or more of these conditions, consult your health care provider before beginning:

  • Chronic health problems such as heart disease, heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis or obesity
  • If you are at high risk for heart disease
  • If you are over age 40 for men or over age 50 for women
What Kind of Activities Counts As Physical Activity?

You might say variety is the spice of exercises because of all the choices you have. Some people like to do activities that fit into their daily routine such as gardening or taking extra trips up and down the stairs. Other people choose a regular exercise program and some do both.

What Are Routine Activities That Count for Physical Activity?

There are a number of ways that you can incorporate exercise into your daily life. Some of these activities are not vigorous or sustained, but they still have benefits if done daily.


As part of your routine activities:

  • Walk, wheel or bike ride instead of driving
  • Walk up stairs instead of taking an elevator
  • Get off the bus a few stops early and walk or wheel the rest of the way
  • Mow the lawn with a push mower
  • Rake leaves
  • Garden
  • Push a stroller
  • Clean the house
  • Do exercise or pedal a stationary bike while you watch television
  • Play actively with your children
  • Take a brisk 10-minute walk in the morning, at lunch and after dinner


As part of your recreation, you can:

  • Walk, wheel or jog
  • Bicycle or use an arm pedal bicycle
  • Swim or do water aerobics
  • Play racket or wheelchair sports
  • Golf (pull your cart or carry the clubs)
  • Canoe
  • Cross-country ski
  • Play basketball
  • Dance
  • Take part in an exercise program at work, home, school or the gym


What Kind of Activities Are Especially Beneficial?

Aerobic activities are those that speed up your heart rate and breathing. They help cardiovascular fitness.
Activities for strength and flexibility help maintain your bones. Examples are carrying groceries, lifting weights, stretching, dancing or yoga.
If you want to step up your activity level to more vigorous exercise, you can burn even more calories.


How Many Calories Can You Burn?

Here are some average calories burned by a 150 pound person shown by the type of moderate to intense activity:

Bicycling 6 mph 240
Bicycling 12 mph 410
Cross-country skiing 700
Jogging 5 mph 740
Jogging 7 mph 920
Running in place 650
Running 10 mph 1.280
Swimming 25 yards/min 275
Swimming 50 yards/min 500
Tennis-singles 400
Walking 2 mph 240
Walking 3 mph 320
Walking 4 mph 440

 The calories you spend on a particular activity vary in proportion to your body weight.