By Dr. Jean Harvey, Ph.D., R.D., Joyce Hendley, M.S., EatingWell Editors, The EatingWell Diet (2007)
Excerpted from The EatingWell Diet Book.
Exercise makes weight loss much easier—but more importantly people who move more are more likely to keep the pounds off. No matter where you’re at now, you can become “an exercise person.”
It’s all good: lifestyle exercise vs. programmed exercise. These two types of activity help you burn calories. While it’s important to get as much as you can in both categories, focus on making room for programmed activity daily. That way it will become a habit more easily.
Burning calories. Exercise is a terrific way to burn off calories—and knowing how much you’re burning is a great motivator. Use our Calories Burned Chart (click to download pdf) to determine how many calories you burn off with the moves you make daily. For example, walking or running is equal to 100 calories burned.
What about strength training? These types of exercises involve using your muscles to push or pull weight. They help you rev up your metabolism and produce satisfying results pretty quickly. You don’t need to be a body-builder, either!
Track yourself to know yourself. Take a few minutes to write down—and give yourself credit for— any heart-pumping activity you do, in your Activity Log (click to download pdf).
Aim to burn at least 1,000 calories/week—the equivalent of walking or running 10 miles.
SEDENTARY NOW? Start at 250 calories, then increase the total by 250 calories every two weeks.
* 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 burns about 100 calories.
It's motivating to know how many calories exercise burns off—but try not to think of exercise calories and food calories as trade-off items. Doing this can lead to some pretty silly bargaining, such as: “If I run 3 miles, I can eat another doughnut.”
Besides, most of us—even dietitians!—underestimate how many calories we eat. Think of daily exercise as a way to compensate for those overlooked calories.