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Weight Management - Healthy Activity

Regular activity makes you healthier

Physical activity is key to improving your health and preventing serious illness. Experts say to do either of these things to get and stay healthy:2

  • Moderate activity for at least 2½ hours a week. Moderate activity means things like brisk walking, brisk cycling, or shooting baskets. But any activities—including daily chores—that raise your heart rate can be included. You notice your heart beating faster with this kind of activity.
  • Vigorous activity for at least 1¼ hours a week. Vigorous activity means things like jogging, cycling fast, or cross-country skiing. You breathe rapidly and your heart beats much faster with this kind of activity.

Physical activity for weight loss means burning more calories. Experts say more than 5 hours a week (aim for 60 to 90 minutes a day) of moderate activity can help you lose weight and keep it off.2

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including obesity screening and nutrition counseling, at no cost to you. Learn more.

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Being active in several blocks of 10-minutes or more throughout the day can count toward these recommendations. You can choose to do one or both types of activity.

If you're not active right now, you don't have to start out at this level. Instead, start small and build up over time. Moderate activity is safe for most people. But it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program.

Regular moderate-intensity physical activity lowers your risk of:3

Work activity into your daily life

Brushing your teeth and getting dressed are regular parts of your day, right? You hardly think about it.

It can be that way with physical activity too. With practice and repetition, you can make activity—whether it's formal exercise or an activity like gardening or walking the dog—so routine that it becomes something you just do because it's part of your day and you enjoy it.

Like any lifestyle change, changing your activity level may be easier if you have a plan. Set small goals. Be creative. For more information, see Getting to a Healthy Weight: Making Lifestyle Changes.

Don't wait until you are "thin" to do the activities you want to do. Just make sure to start slowly. If you aren't active at all, talk to your doctor first.

No matter what you do, the key is making physical activity a regular, fun part of your life. And as soon as you start seeing the results, you'll be even more motivated to keep doing it.

actionset.gif Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
Quick Tips: Getting Active at Home

What's the right amount?

It's best to get some moderate physical activity for at least 2½ hours a week. Brisk walking is one kind of moderate activity.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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