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Exercise: A Key To Maintenance

April 24, 2013

You can't imagine the number of people that are blown away by this statement but it is true. The busiest time at a weight loss clinic is NOT January, but April. Most people go to the gym in January and don't lose a pound. They get healthier, fat per muscle ratio improves, cholesterol comes down, stress level improves, sleep improves, etc but they don't lose weight. Some studies have shown that you must exercise 2 hours a day for 7 days a week to lose weight without changing your diet. That's actually running a marathon everyday of your life. Basically, dieting you lose weight, but exercising is what keeps it off. How much physical activity is enough?

1. General Health Benefit
- Moderate aerobic exercise 150 minutes per week
(about 30 minutes 5x/week) plus strength training

2. Prevention of Weight Gain
- 150-250 minutes per week
- 150-300 minutes per week

3. Prevention of Weight Regain
- 200-300 minutes per week
- 300-400 minutes per week

"Donnley V. American College Sports Medicine 2009"
"US Health & Human Services 2008"

The other important components are exertion and stamina. Lets say you are training for a marathon. Today, you go and run 18 miles. It will take you several days to recover from this. However, after a while you will build up your stamina and get accustomed to this and it won't take you as long to recover. There are people who work jobs where they are constantly on the go. This is better than working behind a computer. By the end of the day they are exhausted, they never build up their stamina. 

You MUST exercise. Start slow using recumbent bikes, elliptical trainers, walking, etc. Have a buddy, this gives you accountability. Set realistic goals. Try and get your heart rate up, not necessarily sweating but getting your skin moist. Also, remember if you exercise when it is cold, you burn more calories. It takes more energy to keep your body heat up. Consider a pedometer. Adding a gadget can be motivational. Counseling patients to exercise without a specific intervention has been shown not to work. (Rowland. Journal of Family Practice 2008). Incidently, people with pedometers walk 2491 extra steps per day. That's 150 extra calories per day burned walking, which could translate into possibly 15 pounds per year.

Lose the weight first and then get moving to KEEP it off!!