Move It to Lose It – The Value of Exercise

“I am overweight because I don’t get enough exercise.” 

Have you ever uttered these words? Many of us think that getting off the sofa alone will trim unwanted pounds.

Consider that if you walk a mile, you will burn approximately 80-110 calories, depending on how much you weigh.  A piece of bread has about 80-110 calories. What is easier, walking a mile or not eating that piece of bread? Unfortunately, exercise alone is of limited value as a weight loss method.

The good news is that exercise prevents initial weight gain and prevents regain of weight that has been lost.

How Much Exercise is Required to Prevent Weight Gain?

It has been said that every woman gains weight at age 50 unless she walks an hour per day. If she is overweight at age 50, she needs to walk 90 minutes per day. Part of the reason is that we lose muscle mass as a normal part of aging, about 1% per year starting around the age of 50.

The International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) recommends 45-60 minutes of moderate intensity activity each day to prevent the development of overweight or obesity.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults participate in both aerobic and muscle building activities each week. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, breast and colon cancer, memory loss, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis are conditions which may be prevented with this level of recommended level of activity:

· Aerobic activity

150 minutes (30 minutes 5 days per week) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.  Moderate-intensity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, like brisk walking, riding a bike on level ground, or doing water aerobics.


75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week.  Vigorous-intensity means you are breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.  Activities like jogging, swimming laps, riding a bike fast, on hills or in a spin class at the gym, playing basketball are vigorous-intensity activities.


A combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

Note that one minute of vigorous activity equals two minutes of moderate-intensity activity; by exercising vigorously, you get the health benefits in half the time. 

· Muscle Building

At least 2 days a week, you need to strengthen muscles that work the major muscle groups of your body.

Strengthening your legs, hips, back, chest, shoulders your arms to a point where it is hard to do another repetition without help is what is required for health effects. Examples include lifting weights, working with resistance bands, using your body weight for resistance (push-ups and sit-ups), and heavy gardening.

How Much Exercise is Required to Lose Weight?  Even more exercise is required to lose weight. Remember that the biggest muscles in our body are our thighs and buttocks, and that walking or biking or jogging uses those muscles.

Buy a Pedometer and Walk 10,000 Steps per Day

Although 10,000 steps isn’t a magic number, this level of activity matches the above recommendations.

An inactive person, someone moving about the house or who works in an office, takes about 3,000 steps or less daily.

Walking 10,000 steps is roughly the equivalent of walking 5 miles. As noted above, walking a mile burns approximately 80-110 calories, depending on how much you weigh; this means you can burn around 500 calories with 10,000 steps. Since one pound is made up of 3,500 calories, walking the walk could mean losing a pound a week.

Maintaining Weight Loss-Exercise is the Best Predictor of Success

Regular exercise is one of the best predictors of weight-loss maintenance. To maintain weight loss, one should burn about 2,000 calories per week, which amounts to walking 15-20 miles per week. People in the National Weight Control Registry, a database of people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept if off for at least one year, report 42 minutes per day (about 290 minutes per week) of moderate intensity physical activity.

At the Metabolic Nutrition Program, we understand what you need. Our experienced staff includes a certified fitness instructor, who will individualize an exercise program for you. Our physician-supervised very low calorie diet helps you lose weight fast. Our counselors help you understand your current unhealthy relationship to food and help you create a better future for yourself.

Give us a call.

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