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Physical Activity and Weight Loss


Eating less and moving more helps some people lose weight. Regular activity can help you feel better, have more energy, and be healthier.

If you haven't been active, start slowly. Doing 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week is a good goal to work toward. If you can do that, then slowly increase your activity. Try to work toward 60 minutes, 5 days a week.

There are a lot of ways to fit activity into your life. Find activities that you like—ones that make your heart beat faster and your muscles stronger. You don't have to do the same activity every day.

What are some examples of aerobic exercise?

Aerobic exercises—which raise your heart rate and keep it up for a time—can include:

  • Walking or using a treadmill.
  • Cycling or using a stationary bike.
  • Swimming or doing water aerobics.
  • Taking online classes or using videos or phone apps.
  • Dancing.

Daily activities can also be aerobic. These activities can include:

  • Walking to work or to run errands.
  • Sweeping (perhaps to fast-paced music).
  • Mowing the lawn (but don't use a riding mower).
  • Playing actively with children.
  • Walking your dog.

What are some examples of strength training exercises?

Exercises that improve your strength can include:

  • Basic muscle-conditioning exercises, such as push-ups, leg lifts, sit-ups, squats, and lunges.
  • Resistance training with exercise bands.
  • Weight training with free weights (dumbbells) or weight-training equipment.
  • Housework and yard work, such as scrubbing the bathtub, washing walls, or pulling weeds.

How can you find activities that are right for you?

To help find activities that fit your lifestyle and personality, ask yourself questions like:

  • Do you prefer to be active by yourself or with others?
  • Do you like to be outdoors or indoors?
  • What times of day might work best for you?
  • Are you interested in learning a new activity?

How can you start being active if you have health problems?

If you have health problems, talk with your doctor before starting an exercise plan. Your doctor can help you know what activities are safe, what to avoid, and what kinds of choices you have. It's also good to start slowly. Do a little at first, and then do more as you get stronger.


Current as of: September 20, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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