How Much Do You Need To Exercise To Lose Weight?

Feet on a scale
If you want to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit aka use more calories than you eat.  This, of course, isn’t easy. Just doing a set of squats won’t be enough. You’ll need to do harder workouts more often. The FDA says that the best way to exercise for weight loss is the kind that gets your heartbeat up, so light-intensity exercise — like walking or doing some household chores — won’t contribute very much.

It turns out that exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week might not be enough. In 2001, American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommended that all adults under 65 exercise at least do moderately-intense cardio, 30 minutes a day, five times a week or vigorously-intense cardio, 20 minutes a day, three days a week, to lower risk of disease and keep their hearts healthy. They recommended 200 to 300 minutes per week for long-term weight loss.

In a statement, the ACSM says research shows that, “between 150 and 250 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity is effective in preventing weight gain greater than 3% in most adults but will provide ‘only modest’ weight loss.”  The guidelines,published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, recommend that overweight and obese adults are more likely to lose weight and keep it off if they exercise at least 250 minutes per week. Exercising for more than 250 minutes per week has resulted in “significant” weight loss for these individuals.

So if you’re trying to lose weight that 30 minute elliptical session might not cut it. To see the result you want, you’d be better served with 50 minutes of cardio and strength training.

Recommendations from the American Cancer Society and FDA are similar. The American Cancer Society recommends that you get at least 45 to 50 minutes of exercise five times a week to help lower your breast cancer risk. The FDA recommends that in order to maintain weight loss, five times a week, you should exercise for at least an hour and up to 90 minutes.

300 minutes a week takes a lot of dedication and this caveman knows how hard it is to find an hour each day for fitness. So, break it up. As long as the exercise is moderate to vigorous(you heart rate is raised and breathing is more difficult), the same benefits can be achieve by breaking up exercise into 10-minute sessions.

Is 300 minutes a week seem like too much for your Rockheads? What amount of exercise gives you the best results? How do you fit exercise into your day? Let me know in the comments!

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