Is Physical Activity Needed for Weight Loss?

Physical activity is an essential part of any weight loss plan.
Sneakers running on pavement covered in leaves

Physical activity is an essential part of any weight loss plan. Combined with a healthy eating regimen, it can help you lose weight and keep it off. Most people know they should make exercise part of their weight loss program, but they need help working it into their busy day. Here are some reasons physical activity is essential to a healthy lifestyle and how to make it work for you.

Why is Physical Activity Important for Weight Loss? 

We all know that a healthy diet and exercise can help you lose weight. A healthy meal plan allows you to take in the target amount of calories. The activity you do, including exercise, burns calories. When you burn more energy than you take in through food, this results in weight loss.

Physical activity is crucial to weight loss because it helps your body have the ideal makeup of fat and muscle. The amount of fat compared to muscle affects your basal metabolic rate, which is how many calories your body burns at rest. Muscle burns more calories than fat. Having more muscle means that you will burn more calories. You can lose weight by decreasing your calorie intake alone, but you will likely lose muscle mass instead of body fat. Moderate to intense physical activity will help you get the most health benefits from physical activity by increasing muscle mass.

The exact effects of physical activity on your body depend on many factors. Still, studies consistently show that physical activity benefits health and weight loss over the long term. It is clear that physical activity also helps you maintain weight loss, which can be one of the most challenging parts of your weight loss journey. 

What Are Other Benefits of Physical Activity?

Physical activity helps you lose weight in a healthy way. It also has other benefits for your body. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It helps to lower glucose levels if you already have diabetes and even decreases your chance of developing certain cancers, including colon and breast cancer.

People who get regular physical activity may also benefit from increased energy. In addition, they are less likely to develop depression. An improved mood and increased energy can motivate you to continue your weight loss program. If you get the recommended amount and type of physical activity, you get these benefits even if you do not lose weight!

Tips for Getting Enough Physical Activity 

So, how much physical activity do you need? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity per week. If you spread out your time over 5 days, that is 30 minutes of physical activity per day plus strength activities on 2 of those days. Moderate-intensity activities include a brisk walk, bike ride, or mowing the lawn. Strength activities should work all major muscle groups.

You can increase your intensity to vigorous physical activity to get even greater benefits. Activities such as jogging, swimming laps, and playing basketball are considered vigorous. These activities will help you burn more calories, leading to more significant weight loss. 

Listen to your body and start slowly when beginning a physical activity program. Anything that gets your body moving and your heart pumping will benefit your physical activity goal.

Prioritize your physical activity and plan ahead to make sure you know where it will fit into your day. Find an activity that you enjoy so that you will stick with it. You can also ask a friend to participate with you or join a group in person or virtually to get support in reaching your physical activity goals.

Physical activity is essential to healthy weight loss and overall health. Talk to your health care team when you are ready to add more physical activity to your day so that you can get started on a path to success.

© 2023 WellDoc, Inc.

The information we provide at is not medical advice, nor is it intended to replace a consultation with a medical professional. Please inform your physician of any changes you make to your diet or lifestyle and discuss these changes with them. If you have questions or concerns about any medical conditions you may have, please contact your physician.

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