Exercise Helps Keep the Weight Off
Now let’s learn how exercise can help prevent weight gain and also prevent regaining weight that has been lost. Numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity is one of the best predictors of weight maintenance.This factor is shared by a large majority of people who are successful at sustaining their weight loss.
Many, if not most, successful weight losers were not exercisers when they made the decision to lose weight. Rather, they began increasing their physical activity at some point during their weight-loss process. Over time, they came to enjoy the exercise itself and recognize the value it brings to sustaining their weight loss.
The amount of exercise connected with sustained weight loss is similar in most studies and surveys, and it is a significant amount. National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) participants report expending over 2,800 calories per week, or an average of 400 calories every day, doing physical activity. This is the equivalent of walking 4 miles a day. Another study found that 1,500 to 2,000 calories per week of exercise— walking roughly 15 to 20 miles over the course of the week—was associated with improved weight maintenance. Other researchers suggest that a formerly sedentary person needs eighty minutes of moderate activity (for example, brisk walking, dance aerobics) or thirty-five minutes of vigorous activity (for example, running, step aerobics) per day to minimize weight gain after weight loss. While the exact amounts of exercise differ somewhat, the message is clear: maintaining weight loss requires a commitment to exercise.
Regular physical activity has similar benefits when you’re trying to keep the weight off as when you are trying to lose weight. It is a way to deal with stress and maintain a positive outlook. And it burns enough calories so that you can enjoy more food than you could otherwise eat while maintaining your weight.