Exercise makes weight loss easier—but more important, people who move more are more likely to keep the pounds off. Aim to burn at least 1,000 calories/week through exercise. (Note: Most of us underestimate how many calories we eat—sometimes by nearly 1,000 calories, says one study.) Try to think of your workouts as a way to compensate for these “margin-of-error” calories.
Tried-and-True: Use this calorie-burning rule of thumb (it’s not exact, but it is easy to remember): Walking or running one mile is equal to 100 calories burned. Riding a bike for the same amount of time it takes you to walk one mile also burns about 100 calories. Look at the “calories burned” output on a treadmill, elliptical or rower (that asks you to enter your weight).
New tools: Download the app for MapMyFitness.com or RunKeeper.com—which, despite its name, isn’t limited to running—and take your phone for a run or a ride or a hike. Using the GPS in your phone, these apps calculate how many calories you burned (not to mention your pace, elevation and more). Don’t want to exercise with your phone? Use these products’ free online sites. There, you can map your route, enter the time it took you to complete it and your weight to get your calorie count. You can also store your workouts and routes and share them with others via Facebook and Twitter. Use the WiiFit Plus to count the calories you burn playing with the kids too. First, you set up your “Mii” (that’s your profile) by standing on the balance board—which weighs you—and completing a fitness assessment. Then when you participate in a Wii activity (hula-hooping! ski jumping!), the game senses your efforts and calculates the calories burned during the session. It also tracks the calories you burn over time.