Regular physical activity is important for good health, and it’s especially important if you’re trying to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight. Far too many of us are couch potatoes. This sets the stage for a lifetime of inactivity, weight gain, and potential chronic disease. This lack of physical activity is one reason that our area has high numbers of individuals struggling with their weight as well as high rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.
Physical activity also helps to:
• Maintain weight
• Reduce high blood pressure
• Reduce risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and several forms of cancer
• Reduce arthritis pain and associated disability
• Reduce risk for osteoporosis and falls
• Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
How much physical activity do I need?
When it comes to weight management, people vary greatly in how much physical activity they need. The 5-2-1-0 program recommends a minimum of 60 minutes per day. Here are some additional guidelines.
Maintain Your Weight
To maintain your weight, work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week. Strong scientific evidence shows that physical activity can help you maintain your weight over time. However, the exact amount of physical activity needed to do this is not clear since it varies greatly from person to person. It’s possible that you may need to do more than the equivalent of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to maintain your weight.
To lose weight and keep it off, you will need a high amount of physical activity unless you also adjust your diet and reduce the number of calories you’re eating and drinking. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight requires both regular physical activity and a healthy eating plan.
To learn more and for additional tips and helpful hints, see our Resources for Playing Well.