Physical activity increases the amount of energy (calories) you burn.
Most weight-loss programs incorporate an exercise program-such as jogging or biking.
And you can also use more energy by changing some of your routine activities, such
as washing your car yourself instead of going to a car wash. Choosing social activities
that increase activity, such as joining a gardening club or dancing, also increases
the calories you burn.
Strength training, which builds muscle, is also an important
part of weight-loss programs. Having more muscle will help you burn more calories
throughout the day. Lifting weights in a supervised program is one way to do this.
Other ways to improve your strength may involve slight changes to some daily activities.
Check with your doctor about strength training that is right for you.
have a medical evaluation before starting any new physical activity. If you have chest
pain or dizziness during any physical activity, stop and call your doctor.
you have not exercised much in the past, your doctor might first recommend a small
amount of daily aerobic activity. For weight loss, though, experts advise doing moderate activity for at least 5 hours a week.
Try for 60 to 90 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. It's fine to be active in
blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week. And you can choose to do
one or both types of activity: exercise programs and/or aerobic activities.
Aerobic exercise is used in weight-loss
programs. It burns calories and increases the amount of oxygen that is delivered to
your muscles. Any activity that raises your heart rate and keeps it up for an extended
period of time will improve your aerobic conditioning. You can exercise at one time
or throughout the day, whichever is most convenient. For example, you could walk for
10 minutes at one time and garden for 20 minutes later on, which would give you 30
minutes of activity for the day.
Examples of aerobic exercise include:
walking, jogging, walking on a treadmill, or riding a stationary bike.
or cross-country skiing.
These routine activities can help you burn calories:
and waxing a car.
Raking leaves or shoveling snow. (Don't use a blower!)
windows or floors.
Pushing a child in a stroller.
can also "sneak" in activity throughout your day.
Walk up the stairs instead
of taking the elevator.
If you need to run an errand within a few blocks,
Park the car some distance from your destination so you have to walk
If you watch television, get up and change the channels instead of
using the remote control.
When you choose an exercise program or physical
activity, pick something you like. Don't pick what looks easiest, what your friends
do, or what the fad is. If you enjoy your activity, it will be easier to do and you
will be more likely to stay with it. Also think about whether you would rather have
convenience or companionship while being physically active. Some people want something
they can do anytime with little hassle. Examples include a treadmill in the home,
going for a walk in the neighborhood, or gardening. Others might prefer companionship,
which means scheduling times with others. Very often when you share your activity
with someone, you keep each other on schedule.
when you have other health problems
People who are overweight or obese often have other health problems and may
be afraid or find it difficult to exercise. These people can still exercise safely.
with your doctor or a physical therapist about how your condition limits your exercise
and bothers you while you exercise. He or she will be able to help you find other
types of exercise.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory
Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Kathleen Romito,
MD - Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family
Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
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