Being active is an important part of any weight-loss or weight-maintenance program. When you're active, your body uses more energy (calories). And when you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight loss.
Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you'd lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Exercise along with cutting calories helps boost your weight loss. Exercise is also important for maintaining your weight and not regaining weight.
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends:
- At least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (think brisk walking or swimming) or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running) — preferably spread throughout the week.
- Strength training exercises at least twice a week.
As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. If you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to increase your activity even more.
This chart shows the estimated number of calories burned while doing various exercises for one hour. Specific calorie expenditures vary widely depending on the exercise, intensity level and your individual situation.