Weight Watchers assigns activity points based on each member’s weight, length of workout and intensity level. Activity points aren’t based on the type of exercise performed, so a high-intensity elliptical workout would be the same as a high-intensity treadmill workout done at the same intensity for the same length of time. Always consult with your doctor prior to starting a new diet or exercise plan, especially if you have a history of chronic disease or a history of injury.
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Weight Watchers encourages members to aim for one to three activity points per day. Elliptical machines provide cardiovascular workouts with the added benefit of decreased joint impact when compared to walking on a treadmill. Since your feet never leave the platform pedals, the knees and ankles move fluidly without any jarring impact. For this reason, elliptical trainers are especially beneficial for individuals with a history of joint injury or for obese individuals when the force on the knees and ankles is greater due to excess body weight.
Activity Points Explained
On the Weight Watchers program, every food is given a points value, which is deducted from a daily points allowance. Exercise earns points, which can be traded for food if desired. Since body weight is a factor when determining activity points, it’s different for every participant. Weight Watchers follows the recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine as well as the American Heart Association when it comes to exercise frequency. For moderate-intensity exercise, participants should aim for 30 minutes of exercise at least five days each week. For high intensity exercise, only 20 minutes, three times per week is necessary.
What’s Your Intensity?
Determine your activity level by evaluating your heart rate or by evaluating your perceived exertion. To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, a 30-year-old would have a maximum heart rate of 190. High-intensity workouts elevate the heart rate to 70 percent of the maximum heart rate. For a 30-year-old person, a heart rate of 133 or higher would constitute a high-intensity workout. Another way to determine intensity is by evaluating breathing and sweating. High-intensity exercise causes participants to sweat within three to five minutes. Breathing becomes fast and talking is difficult except in very short phrases.
Calculate Your Points
To determine the number of activity points for a high-intensity elliptical workout, take your current weight and multiply it by the number of minutes you exercised on the elliptical. Finally, multiply that number by 0.0008077 and you’ve determined the activity points for your workout. If you have Internet access, there are free points calculators available through Weight Watchers if you prefer not to do the math yourself.