How Much Do You Need to Exercise to Lose Weight?

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Many people exercise for weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. Being overweight or obese can lead to a long list of dangerous, and even deadly, health problems. Exercise burns calories, carbohydrates and fat, so it works perfectly if you are looking to lose weight. So, exactly how much do you need to exercise to drop the pounds you are looking to discard?

Time to do a little math.

Bear in mind, no 2 people are alike. There is no way that your very unique bodily functions can be determined by using global averages. However, you can use the following formula as a base, and adjust accordingly to the results you experience.

3,500 Is Your Target Number

3,500 … burn that number into your memory. That is how many calories the average adult needs to burn to drop 1 pound in body weight. So if you are burning 350 cal during a particular workout, you will need to exercise 10 times to lose 1 pound.

However, the process is not that simple. That 3,500 number needs to be a calorie deficiency. In other words, if you burn 3,500 cal by exercising in a week, you will only lose 1 pound of body weight if you do not over-consume that same number above and beyond your daily recommended caloric intake.

This means you need to know how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis. If your doctor recommends a 2,000 cal daily intake, you need to start planning your meals and counting calories to make sure you do not go overboard. You should also remember that exercising for weight loss only works if you don’t replace the calories you burn.

In the above example (a 2,000 cal daily recommended allowance) you need 14,000 weekly calories to maintain your current weight in any given week. If you burn 3,500 cal by exercising in that same week, you will lose 1 pound. However, if you stray from your normal eating habits and consume an extra 3,500 cal, your weight loss for that week is zero.

How Many Calories Do Specific Exercises Burn?

In addition to understanding how many calories your food contains, you need to know what exercises burn what amount of calories. There are weight loss calculators and exercise calorie charts available for free online. They reveal how many calories are burned by a specific type of physical activity.

For instance, you burn 4 cal per minute when you walk or bike slowly, and 7 cal when you pick up the pace. You can expect to burn 10 cal every minute you walk or jog. You also expend 10 cal of energy every minute you swim at a strenuous pace.

You can also expect to burn around 4 cal per minute playing golf or gardening, ice-skating or square dancing, or performing simple housework. Playing basketball or baseball, ballroom dancing or walking downstairs you burn roughly 7 cal a minute. Dancing, Zumba class, weight training, climbing upstairs and cross country skiing all allow you to burn 10 cal per minute.

Once you know how many calories your particular exercise burns over a certain period of time, you simply need to put in the time required to drop the weight you are targeting. The best path to success here is recording everything.

Your body may burn more or fewer calories than average. Keeping track of how many calories you consume, what types of exercises you perform and the duration of each, in relationship to how your weight fluctuates, will reveal your personal exercise/weight loss formula.

Does Walking Count as Good Exercise?

You unconsciously walk several thousand steps each and every day. Because of this natural process, you may wonder if walking “counts” as good exercise. Does walking qualify as exercise at all, or does it have very little impact on your health and physical fitness? Recent research shows that walking is an under-appreciated but very effective form of exercise.

Walking – Better for Your Heart Than Running?

Research was conducted on 33,000 runners and 15,000 walkers. When the same amount of energy was used, those that walked were healthier than those that ran. This was a serious study, in-depth study which covered 6 years, and participants both male and female from age 18 to 80.

Running did reduce the risk of heart disease by 4.5% over someone who was sedentary. However, walking reduced the chances of contracting heart disease by more than double that figure, a full 9.3%. First time high cholesterol risk was lowered by a full 7% by those in the study who walked. The runners did lower their cholesterol risk, but by just 4.3%.

Comparing Apples to Apples

Comparing and contrasting running to walking makes sense because both of those activities use the same muscle groups. Also, the fact that running is more intense than walking was thought to lead to more health benefits. Actually, the opposite has been discovered. It is thought that this may be because the continual pounding your body receives while running puts more pressure on your limbs, muscles and joints than walking.

This data was reported in the American Heart Association health journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. The fact that such a large sample size was used, age groups covered more than 60 years, and both men and women were employed as test subjects gives these incredible findings a lot of validity.

Do you need more proof of walking as good exercise? Dr. Dawn Marcus is a neurologist and professor at the University of Pittsburgh. She points to recent medical research which shows that “… consistent walking is better for your health than infrequent strenuous exercise.”

She has published a book titled “Fit as Fido: Follow Your Dog to Better Health”. In it she recommends walking your dog frequently, for the health benefits this activity delivers to both you and your furry friend.

So, is walking a good exercise? The research seems to show that not only is walking a valid exercise, it may be more beneficial for you than running and some other forms of exercise.

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