Most health experts recommend that Americans exercise at least a half hour most days of the week, but people who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept the weight off are moving much more than that. They get lots of exercise; the equivalent of an hour or more a day or 28 miles of walking a week, which means they probably have much less time to veg out in front of the TV. The more weight you have lost and need to maintain, the more you have to move. Researchers don’t understand why a formally obese person must exercise more than an always-lean person to maintain the lower weight, although it probably relates to some kind of permanent metabolic slowdown that results from having been obese. It’s not fair that you need to move 12,000 steps a day, while your skinny neighbor might need only 8,000 steps, but that’s the reality. To spice up their active lives, diet successes turn to variety, with six out of every ten of them incorporating two or more types of exercise into their weekly routines.
Basic exercise guidelines won’t cut it for someone who wants to maintain a 50-pound weight loss. You’ll need to increase your daily movement AND exercise a lot. First, start defining yourself as someone who is active. Then, purchase a pedometer and plan to take 8,000 steps during the day using stairs instead of the elevator, getting up to change the TV channel, and walking to the neighbor’s instead of calling. In addition, exercise almost every day. Diet successes burn about 400 calories a day in exercise alone, the equivalent of about one hour or walking 4 miles. While this might sound overwhelming to the novice, keep in mind that some exercise is better than none, and even a slight boost in activity can bring emotional and health benefits. Also, give yourself time to reach your ultimate exercise goals. Masters didn’t start out exercising for an hour every day, they worked up to that level over time.