Weight Management: Exercise and Activity

Overweight woman riding a bicycle on a country road.

Studies show that people who exercise are the most likely to lose weight and keep it off. Exercise burns calories. It helps build muscle to make your body stronger. Make exercise an important part of your weight-management plan.

Make activity part of your day

You may not think you have the time to exercise. But you can work activity into your daily life—you just need to be committed. Take 10 minutes out of your lunch hour to take a walk. Walk to the newsstand to get your paper instead of having it delivered. Make it a habit to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park in a far away parking spot instead of the closest. You’ll be surprised at how fast these little changes can make a difference.

Some people really cannot walk very far, and tire out quickly with exercise. Instead of becoming discouraged, resolve to do what you can do, and work to make that a regular frequent habit. 

The benefits of exercise

Exercise offers many benefits including: 

  • Exercise increases your metabolism (the speed at which your body burns calories).

  • Regular exercise can increase the amount of muscle in your body. Muscle burns calories faster than fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

  • Exercise gives you energy and curbs your appetite.

  • Exercise decreases stress and helps you sleep better. Find out for yourself what time of day works best for you.

Make exercise fun

Exercise can be fun. Choose an activity you enjoy. You may even get a friend to do it with you:

  • Take a resistance-training or aerobics class

  • Join a team sport

  • Take a dance class

  • Walk the dog

  • Ride a bike

If you have health problems, be sure to ask your healthcare provider before you start an exercise program. Have a fitness professional help you develop a plan that’s safe for you.