Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly add one more thing to your plate each day, the Journal of the American Medical Association boosts the physical activity recommendations for women. The latest study suggests that for women to be successful in maintaining normal weight and gaining fewer pounds, they need to exercise for about 60 minutes per day with moderate-intensity activity.1
The benefits of exercise are numerous from lowering the risk of chronic disease to mood-lifting abilities, but it’s important to remember that diet plays more of a role when it comes to weight loss, whereas exercise becomes more important during the weight maintenance phase.
To put this in perspective, a McDonald’s Big Mac has 575 calories, which could take about 2 ½ hours of moderate walking to burn off! You can see where watching what you eat becomes critical for weight loss versus trying to do it solely through exercise.
Diet and exercise do go hand in hand and have an important role in overall health, but the key to both is to make gradual changes so that they become sustainable. Even little changes make a big difference, whether it’s cutting back on the amount of cream and sugar you add to your coffee each day or deliberately parking at the end of the parking lot when running errands to get in more activity.
Instead of getting overwhelmed by what guidelines you should or shouldn’t be following, make one small goal a week and continue to add to it week after week, and before you know it, you’ll be on the road to a healthier you!
- Lee IM, Djoussé L, Sesso HD, Wang L, Buring JE. Physical activity and weight gain prevention. JAMA. 2010 Mar 24;303(12):1173-9.