Regular physical activity is important for good health, and it is particularly important if you want to lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight.
- When losing weight, more physical activity means more calories/energy burnt assisting with weight loss. The calories burned through physical activity, combined with a reduction in calories consumed, results in a greater “calorie deficit” that leads to greater weight loss.
- When losing weight a calorie deficit is required, however, evidence shows that to maintain weight lost, regular physical activity is most important.
- As well as weight loss, physical activity also reduces the risk of some health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, beyond that generated by weight loss alone. Physical activity also has many other health benefits, such as reduced blood pressure, a reduced risk for osteoporosis and improved metal well being.
How much physical activity do I need?
When considering weight management, individuals fluctuate significantly in how much physical activity they require. Here are some guidelines to follow:
For weight loss: To lose weight a high amount of physical activity is required, unless there is also a reduction in calories. Reaching a weight goal and maintaining a healthy weight requires both regular physical activity and a healthy eating plan.
To maintain your weight: Research shows that physical activity can assist with maintaining weight over time. To maintain weight it is recommended that an individual works their way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. (Moderate activity is defined as an increased breathing rate and faster heart rate with the ability to still carry on a conversation). Individuals who engage in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity are encouraged to work up to 75 minutes of physical activity a week. (Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity is defined as a markedly increased breathing rate and faster heart rate with an inability to engage in a conversation.)
These are only guidelines, and some individuals may need to do more than the equivalent of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to maintain their weight. Therefore, the exact amount of physical activity needed varies greatly between individuals, as it id best to build activity levels over time.