Exercise and weight-management
You can exercise eight hours daily but if you are consuming more calories than you burn you will gain weight. In an effort to lose and then maintain a desired weight you need a balance of diet, exercise and staying active. Timothy Church, MD, the director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La believes that weight-loss and weight-management consists of paying attention to both diet and exercise simultaneously.
Initially, cutting 1000 calories from your intake is easier than burning 1000 calories as will be shown below. Research shows that then including exercise into your style of life will be of weight-management benefit if conducted consistently and at recommended levels. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends the following exercise levels for most healthy adults:
• Aerobic activity of at least 150 minutes at a moderate level or 75 minutes vigorously each week. Moderate activity includes brisk walking, mowing the lawn and swimming. Vigorous activity includes running and non-stop aerobic dancing.
• Strength training using free weights, exercise bands, isometrics or rock climbing. Strength training is recommended two times weekly. The HHS guidelines do not include specific lengths of time for strength training.
If you spend 30 minutes exercising aerobically at least five times each week you can meet the recommended minimum amount of time (150 minutes) for weekly aerobic activity. Of course, if you are exercising vigorously you can cut the weekly time in half (75 minutes). The amount of calories burned is dependent on your individual circumstances such as intensity level, your current weight and how long you exercise. For example, a 160-pound person walking for one hour and covering 2 miles, a 30-minute mile, will burn approximately 204 calories. In contrast, the same person walking 3.5 miles in one hour, a 17-minute mile, will burn about 314 calories. Using these examples you can see that even walking at a 17-minute mile pace for one hour will not burn the 500 calorie meal you finished two hours ago. Here in lies the magic of combining exercise, diet and being active which also will burn calories.
As a health psychologist I would be remiss if I did not include lifestyle routines such as stress and sleep that can affect your weight. Exercise and diet are important but as always it is the total package that needs to be considered. Assessing your sleep hygiene for restorative sleep and managing your stress is very important in addition to your exercise, diet and degree of being physically active when analyzing how you are doing with your weight-management.
There you have it. Don’t treat your sleep hygiene, stress, exercise, diet and physical activity separately. Combine them in an overall routine to manage your weight and feel better. In closing, the exercise recommendations outlined above are for healthy adults. Please visit with your primary care physician or other health care professional and discuss your desire and ability to engage in physical exercise before starting your individual program.