How much to exercise for healthy Weight loss
To answer this we first need to ask another "what is your goal?", or
more specifically, "how much
weight do you want to lose and by when?"
Once we have the answer to the second question, we can simply calculate how much
exercise is needed based on an understanding of how much
exercises burn per minute.
Here's an example of how we do this assuming that our goal is to lose 10 kilos
in 20 weeks, or ½ a kilo per week:
The amount of exercise needed to lose ½ kilo of body fat per week
It has been estimated that ½ kilo (1 pound) of
body fat equals around 16,000
kilojoules (or around 4,000 calories). So to lose ½ kilogram of body fat each
week through exercise, we need to burn off approximately 2,500 kilojoules (600
calories) extra each day. So based on this figure, the answer to how much
exercise is easy: that amount of exercise which burns an extra 2,500 kilojoules
(kJ) per day, or 16,000kJ per week. You can use the
energy chart provided on this website as a guide, to learn about number of
calories burned in 15, 30, 45 and 60 min of various
As peoples lives are so different, weight loss can't realistically be reduced
to a simple equation like it has been above.
Try exercising for 10 minutes today and add 5 minute
increments until you work up to 30.
There are other variables to be considered in the amount of exercise
for weight loss equation that weren't adequately catered for in the above
For example, none of these factors were taken into consideration:
Our individual weight loss
goals- Because each of us has different
goals, the amount of exercise which is right for each of us will be different.
About five hours of weekly exercise may bring the biggest weight loss for
obese adults who are also watching their intake of
fat and calories. Also, The
Institute of Medicine released a report in 2003 claiming that a full hour of
exercise each day is what it takes to manage our weight; for years
Our individual levels of
What, and more importantly, how
strong our motivation levels are will help to determine how much of the
exercise we know we need to do we actually will do.
Our individual fitness levels - How fit we are today determines to a great
extent the amount of exercise we can realistically do and just as importantly,
at what level of
Our individual energy levels- Like our
fitness level, our energy
levels will help determine how much exercise we can cope with each day.
Ironically, the more we exercise the more energy our bodies will have
available to exercise.
Our time availabilities- If we can and would like to exercise for an
hour or two each day but don't physically have the time available, we might
need to get a little smarter (such as including the family in our exercise ,
exercising before the family wakes up in the morning, during our lunch-break,
or after the kids have gone to bed), exercise more efficiently (for example
jogging instead of
walking) or reevaluate and set new priorities.
Our priorities in life- The reality is that nothing is as important
as our health and wellbeing, because with these in place we can literally do
anything. Tell your family and friends that exercise is a top priority and
make them aware of all committed time slots. Ask them not to derail you with
conflicting invitations or demands.
Our preferred exercise program- For the best possible long-term
benefit, a program that includes aerobic type exercises (like walking,
swimming, martial arts, etc) and
exercise (like weight training, isometric exercise,
resistance band exercise,
circuit training, etc) works best because the aerobic workouts burn the
maximum amount of calories during the workout and the strength training
increases our resting metabolic rate (or the amount of energy our body burns
at rest and during everyday activities).
Our commitment to exercise progression- Exercise progression is
important for weight loss because:
As we lose weight, we burn less energy doing the same exercise - because we
are physically carrying less weight around. The fitter we become, the more
efficient our bodies become and the less energy they use to do the same volume
Our attitude towards exercise- Remember, doing something is better
than nothing and it is far easier and more likely that we will progress from
doing a little bit of exercise to a little bit more, than it is from doing
nothing to doing a whole lot!
How consistently we exercise- Within the constraints of life's
natural daily, weekly, and monthly cycles, we need to be as consistent as
possible for the best long-term affects.
Our general physical abilities- When it comes to exercise, some of us have
physical disabilities that prevent us from doing some forms of activity.
The law of averages - The law of averages suggests that if we need to
average 60 minutes of exercise everyday (for example), we should perhaps do 70
or 80 minutes per day knowing full well that it is unrealistic for any of us
to be able to exercise every single day.
How many kilojoules or calories less we are prepared to eat each week - To
understand how much energy your body needs to maintain its current weight,
please visit our BMR Calculator.
It's important to remember that for every one of us, all of these factors are
subject to change from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to
To be a successful "loser" it comes down to calories: spending more and
eating less. It’s a combination of these factors that will result in a
significant enough calorie deficit to lead to the kind of success you want.