A regular exercise routine is a great way to start losing weight, because your body burns calories instead of storing them as fat. Although you need a minimum amount of exercise each week to reap real benefits, there’s no exact amount of exercise recommended for losing weight. A successful weight loss program requires a commitment to a healthy diet combined with regular exercise as a permanent lifestyle.
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To burn a significant number of calories and achieve a basic level of physical fitness, get a minimum of 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise each week. For example, walk, jog or swim 30 minutes a day 5 days each week. Activities like tennis, cycling or even yard work are also good aerobic exercise. Include strength training each week as well. This type of exercise not only promotes weight loss, it is improves muscle tone and reduces your risk of heart disease.
When you start daily exercise for weight loss, you may find it difficult to work out for 30 minutes at a time. Start with perhaps 10 minutes at a time two or three times during the day if you need to. The Walking Site recommends you begin exercising hard enough to raise your pulse to 50 percent of your maximum heart rate, or MHR. Estimate your MHR by subtracting your age from 226 for women and 220 for men. As your physical fitness level improves, gradually increase your exercise intensity so your heart rate stays at 60 to 70 percent of MHR.
How many calories you burn working out depends on several factors, mainly your weight and the type and intensity of your exercise activity. For example, a 200-lb. person who jogs at 5 mph burns about 728 calories per hour. You must burn around 3,500 calories to lose 1 lb. In this example, the jogger has to work out a little less than 5 hours per week to lose 1 lb.
As your physical condition improves over time, you can exercise more and lose weight at a faster rate. However, the Walking Site points out that many people simply don’t have the energy and time to lose 1 or 2 lbs. each week through daily exercise alone. For example, the average person burns 100 calories walking 1 mile. To lose a pound, that means 35 miles of walking. If you are like most people, combining a healthy, low-calorie diet with exercise will achieve the best weight-loss results.