While eating well is very important, most experts agree that in order to lose or even maintain weight, you must also exercise. Besides, it’s necessary for your overall good health. You may be surprised by how little exercise you need to simply maintain a healthy weight.

How Much Exercise You Need

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) you need just 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week— or an equivalent combination of the two.

That means if you took 3 half hour brisk walks a week (90 minutes) plus lifted weights, did jumping jacks, squats, push ups or sit ups for 30 minutes twice a week (60 minutes), you could maintain your weight. If walking doesn’t appeal, sign up for two one-hour exercise classes a week and sneak in a 20-minute resistance training session at home. Or ride your bike or cross country ski for an hour and a half just once a week. Exercise needs for maintaining weight do vary by individual – find what works for you.

If you want to lose weight or get strong, you’ll have to add more activity and increase the intensity. According a MSPT at The Memorial Hospital, we start losing muscle strength starting at age 25. Yet he’s quick to add that we can combat this natural breakdown of muscle by staying active—and even get stronger as we age—with regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

To stay strong as you age and to lose weight, the physical therapist recommends the following exercise plan:

  • Stretching daily—even just 5 to 10 minutes helps to maintain flexibility.

  • Weight-bearing resistance training 3 to 4 times a week—use hand weights or do resistance exercises at home, or join an exercise class.

  • Cardiovascular exercise 3 to 4 times a week—a brisk walk is one of the best cardiovascular exercises and it’s easy to do.

Did you know that regular morning exercise might lower your food cravings for the rest of the day? A recent study showed that when people exercised and then were presented with food images, their arousal level to eat was lower than the levels of people who didn’t exercise.

Curious About Your Body Fat Ratio?

A body composition scan can measure the amount of fat in your body. Higher amounts of fat, especially around the waist area, can put you at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

The BMI measures how much mass you are carrying on your skeleton. For example, a man who is 5’ 9” and weighs 125 to 168 pounds is at a healthy weight, with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9. More than 25% means you are overweight.

“Although simple in design, the BMI has scientifically been proven to be one of the most important health indicators, and every adult should be aware of their own measurement,” said a PA at TMH’s Northwest Total Joint & Orthopaedic Center.