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How Long Should I Exercise To Lose Weight?

March 23, 2011

By Tara Zimliki

I hear this question on a daily basis as clients come to me for help in changing their waistlines and their lives.  At 31 years old I have helped almost one thousand clients to lose weight, improve health, and reach their peak fitness level. There is no shame in wanting to not only have better health but to look good too!  Want to have a slimmer waist, tighter arms and slimmer legs?  Then make sure you are getting enough of a workout to lose and tone in the fat burning zone.

The Institute of Medicine recently released a lengthy report recommending that, as part of a routine regimen to maintain cardiovascular health and get to your ideal body weight and body composition, we should all engage in 60 minutes of daily vigorous physical activity. The authors have made it very clear that this 60-minute fitness routine should not be from house chores, as this is not vigorous enough to really break a sweat. Your 60 minutes of exercise should be time that is purely dedicated to fitness.  The panel of authors who wrote this for the IOM are scientists and every single word of what they say is backed up by proven research.

So now that you now that an hour a day will keep the weight away, here are some great workouts you can do 1 hour:

1)     Go for a brisk walk or jog.  If you are advanced, go for interval training one day a week and sprint for 2 minutes in every 10 minute grouping.  This will give you 12 minutes of sprinting and 48 minutes of running and you will boost your metabolism even higher following your workout. (Burns 600-800 calories per hour)

2)     Bootcamp may be where you belong!  You see bootcamps popping up all over, although not all are created equal.  Most bootcamps are for all ages and activity levels so you can start as a beginner, intermediate level, or advanced.  Make sure your bootcamp is taught by a certified trainer who embodies fitness in their own life.  Ideally your trainer should have several years’ experience as a personal trainer so they are accustomed to helping clients of all fitness levels.  You should also look for a trainer that has worked with people with similar goals.  In my bootcamp, I make every effort to see everyone reach their goals because I love fitness.  Find a knowledgeable and educated fitness lover and before you know it you may be a fitness lover too! (Burns 600-800 calories per hour)

3)     Swim Strong!  Visit the local YMCA or indoor swim club to swim laps.  According to American College of Sports Medicine, the amount of calories burned during swimming depends “on the velocity of movement.” (Burns 500-750 calories per hour)

4)     Pump some iron. Weight training can help both men and women stay lean by building muscle and raising metabolism.  Aerobics are great for calorie expenditure but it is difficult for people to lose weight fast when just doing aerobics because your metabolism drops back to normal fairly quickly after stopping the exercise. Bootcamp workouts usually provide resistance and weight training along with cardio.  If you weight train and build muscle you will not only be leaner but will also raise your body’s resting metabolism (the amount of calories you burn when you are at rest, sitting, sleeping, etc.) because muscle requires a lot of calories to maintain. Recent studies have shown consistent weight training raises the body’s metabolism by nearly 15%. (Average woman can burn 200-300 calories at rest).

What about people that are not looking to shed pounds and tone but just improve overall health? More than 40 studies in the scientific literature document that cardiac risk can be reduced by 30 – 50% by regular, moderate exercise—exercise averaging far less than one hour per day. If you can exercise at a moderate pace for 20 – 30 minutes at least five days a week, you may not shed pounds, but you will be doing your heart and your cardiovascular system a lot of good.

So to lose weight make sure to get in 4-5 sixty minutes workouts per week, eat healthy (4-6 fruits and vegetables daily), drink 12-18 glasses of water daily and embody the person you want to be! Forget any of your past struggles with food and fitness and make a change in your life today!  Believe in yourself and you will stay committed to achieving all of your health and fitness goals!

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