How Much Exercise Do You Need to Lose Weight


How much exercise you need to lose weight depends on several things such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Fitness level
  • Diet
  • Body weight

First of all a proper weight loss program should include not only exercise participation but also a healthy well balanced diet that has been well thought out. The bottom line is weight loss and weight gain result from how much food you eat and how many calories you burn. It’s that simple. If you eat more calories than your body burns you will gain weight. If your body burns more calories than you eat you will lose weight. If you eat the same amount of calories that you burn your weight stays constant.

Many people, however, find this confusing. Some come to realize that as they get older they become heavier, even though their amount of food intake, and exercise activity haven’t changed. What they don’t take in to consideration however, is that as they get older their metabolism slows down naturally. In order to account for this fact you have to make certain changes.

You either decrease your caloric intake and/or change your diet to include foods that fire up the metabolism; and/or increase your level of physical activity. The fact is that certain people tend to gain weight more than others. This doesn’t mean, however, that they are doomed to be overweight. It does mean they have to do a little more work to keep the fuel burning process at adequate levels. One of the biggest causes of weight gain in America today is lack or insufficient amount of exercise.

Many people that eat reasonably healthy just need to raise their level of exercise to lose the extra pounds. Others need drastic dietary changes as well as increased exercise participation. The common denominator though seems to be insufficient exercise levels. Countless scientific studies have proven that exercise improves the body’s metabolic rate. So, how much exercise do we need to lose weight?

How much?

According the American College of Sports Medicine, to attain benefits of a fit and healthy heart and weight reduction you should exercise for 20-60 minutes with an intensity of between 60%-85% of your maximum heart rate, 3-5 times weekly. The more weight you need to lose the higher the intensity, duration and frequency should be. You have to start slow and gradually increase the pace. See your doctor first, however, before you begin.

What is your maximum heart rate? You maximum heart rate (MHR) can be found by subtracting your age from 220. So if you are 40 years old your maximum heart rate is 180. If you want to train at 60% of your MHR your target HR would be 108 (60% of 180 is 180×60÷100=108).

Your heart rate is determined by the number of heart beats per minute. To get your heart rate take your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply that number by 6, which would equal the number of heart beats over a one minute period.

What exercise do you choose?

Find something that you will enjoy doing, otherwise you will have a difficult time staying with it for long time periods. There are various indoor facilities including health clubs that offer many different activities. Some of them include aerobics, boxing aerobics, dancing, yoga, walking or jogging by treadmill, step climbing, rowing, basketball, indoor soccer, badminton, and swimming. Many of these and other activities can be performed outdoors.

You can even work out at home if you wish. There are many instructional videos out there that have a variety of exercise methods you can follow from home. Some may require certain additional equipment depending on the method of exercise. There are many inexpensive pieces of equipment you can buy such as, jump rope, hand weights, step for step climbing, training balls, and so on.

If you plan to do most of your exercising at home you can invest in more expensive equipment. These may include a treadmill for walking or running, a stationary bicycle or even an elliptical machine. You can surf the net freely to find out all kinds of information and various product ratings on most pieces of training equipment.

Once you narrow down what you want, search the internet for the best price before you put your money down. One advantage of internet shopping is the product can be delivered right to your door. Make sure you choose ones that offer generous money back guaranties – these tend to be better quality products.

Now that you picked your activity where do you start? Begin at the lowest levels of the above recommendations. If you are new to exercise one way to begin is by walking, regardless of the exercise method you have chosen. Start with a moderate pace for 20 minutes, three times per week. Increase the intensity level every couple of weeks or as your body adjusts and adapts to each new training level.

When you get to the level of brisk walking, for a period of one hour, 5 to 6 times a week, you are ready to begin your activity of choice. Again start at a relatively low intensity level and work your way up. If you picked jogging as you activity, begin with a mix of brisk walking and jogging slowly. Increase the amount of jogging time gradually until you are jogging the entire time. Then the goal is to jog for 20-30 minutes, five times a week with intensity between 70%-85% of MHR.

Input and Output

Keep in mind that if you are not physically capable of jogging or performing other demanding exercises, brisk walking is still an excellent choice as long as it’s combined with an adequate and healthy diet. To lose weight your daily caloric intake should equal to about your weight in pounds multiplied by ten (unless you are extremely overweight). Remember it’s still all about input and output. To lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume.

For many of us who are overweight, weight loss is not easy. At the same time, there is no easy quick weight loss solution that lasts. The way to achieve permanent weight loss is to change your lifestyle. Make a few key changes in diet and increase your level of exercise. That’s all it takes. Make it part of your life-your daily routine. Don’t lose hope. You can do it, one small step at a time, one to two pounds per week. You too can enjoy the huge health benefits of permanent weight loss.

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