Guidelines for losing weight and keeping it off
Adults who are overweight or obese gain similar health benefits from physical activity as people with a healthy body weight. Even when you do not lose weight, you will gain health benefits from being more active (Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, 2008). You will gain even more benefits if you lose weight as well as increase your activity levels. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight you may need to change your diet as well as increased activity. To lose weight you need to use up more energy on activity than you get from food. To maintain your weight you need to have a balance between the amount of energy you get from food and use on activity.
To maintain a healthy weight
To avoid gaining weight, you need to use at least 350 calories per day in physical activity, as well as the energy you use in everyday tasks. This means about 60 minutes of brisk walking or 30 minutes of jogging per day.If you have lost a significant amount of weight, you may need to do 60 – 90 minutes of moderate activity per day to keep the weight off (UK Department of Health, 2004).
To lose weight
To lose weight, you need to do a more physical activity than the recommendations for adults at a healthy weight. How much activity you need to do can vary depending on a number of factors, including how much weight you need to lose. In general, you need to do about one third more activity than the amount recommended by the adult guidelines. This amounts to brisk walking for at least 60 – 75 minutes per day.If you have a very high Body Mass Index (BMI) – 30.0 or above, or you are extremely inactive, start with bouts of 10 minutes or less. Gradually increase the duration, and then the intensity of your activity until you reach the adult guidelines.
Progressing your physical activity (adults)
To progress your physical activity, whatever your age or ability, you must set yourself realistic and achievable goals related to your current level of activity. You can count all physical activity that lasts 10 minutes or more towards the guidelines.If you do not take part in physical activity Start off with a few minutes of activity each day, for example, a 5 – 10-minute walk. Gradually increase to 30 minutes of moderate activity on 1 – 2 days a week, as well as a 10-minute walk every other day. Over a few weeks increase the number of days until you reach at least 30 minutes moderate activity on five days of the week.
If you are active, but at less than the recommended levels Get active more often and for longer until you reach a regular pattern of at least 30 minutes moderate activity (or a mix of moderate and vigorous activity) on five days of the week.If you are active at the minimum recommended levels Continue to increase the duration and intensity of your activity. Aim for the milestone of 60 minutes moderate activity on five days a week or a mix of moderate and vigorous activity.