Weight loss is a great motivator for exercise. However, you should be sure you are doing the right amount of exercise to reach your goals. Your physical activity program for weight loss can look much different from a person just looking to stay healthy. You need to track your intensity, duration and calorie burn while working out for weight loss.
The amount you need to exercise for weight loss exceeds the amount you should exercise to maintain your weight or health. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should try to accumulate 300 minutes of exercise per week for weight loss. This is compared to the recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association to exercise of 30 minutes, five days per week.
For weight loss, you should be attempting to burn a certain amount of calories during exercise. Burning at least 2,000 calories per week from exercise is the recommendation of the American College of Sports Medicine. In order to do this while exercising for 300 minutes per week, you need to work at a moderate to moderately hard intensity, five to seven days per week for 45 to 60 minutes per session.
Ideally, your exercise program should be composed of both an aerobic and resistive portion. Aerobic activity should make up the bulk of your program because it burns the most calories and fat. Aerobic exercise involves using your large muscle groups in a dynamic matter, like you would jogging, biking or swimming. The other component, resistance training, can be done as many times at three per week, on nonconsecutive days. This kind of exercise increases your muscle mass which also burns calories. Try to do eight to 10 exercises using your large muscle groups and working up to one to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
If you are new to exercise it may be best to work with a professional. There needs to be a balance struck between the intensity and duration of your program for optimal caloric burn. This kind of exercise may also be hard on your body, especially your joints. Be sure to pick low-impact exercises, like swimming or biking, if this occurs. Before starting any new exercise program, always get clearance from your doctor.
- "ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription"; Mithcell H. Whaley, PhD, Peter H. Brubaker, PhD, Robert M. Otto, PhD; 2006
- "Circulation"; Physical Activity and Public Health: Updated Recommendations for Adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association; 2007