Want to lose a pound a week? Get moving!

To many people, losing weight can seem like a daunting challenge, especially when it comes to choosing the best method to do so.  This decision can become further complicated by the glut of new fad diets and exercise plans that seem to be popping up everywhere you look.  The simple truth is that there is no “miracle pill,” or “miracle” anything, for that matter, that can lead to rapid weight loss and successful weight maintenance.  The easiest, and safest, way to lose weight is to put your body in a calorie deficit.  All it takes is a deficit of 500 calories each day to lose a pound a week.  So, you either need to eat 500 calories less, or burn 500 calories more, than you normally do (or, you can do a combination of the two).  Other blog posts have focused on cutting calories, and that topic will be the subject of posts in the very near future, but increasing physical activity is just as important.  Adding extra activity to your day doesn’t have to be difficult or exhausting – by making simple tweaks to your routine, you can easily burn several hundred more calories than you normally do.  Some good ways to start:

  • Get off the subway or bus a few stops early, and walk the rest of the way to work.
  • Park your car in a space that’s far away from the entrance.
  • Walk to errands nearby, instead of driving there. 
  • Exercise while you’re watching tv.  Lift weights, walk in place, or do jumping jacks. 
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator – when going down and up.
  • Choose activities that require standing up and moving – think dancing or bowling – rather than sitting (like going to the movies).

Now could also be the time you decide to take on a new activity that helps you burn calories while still having fun.  The following activities, when done for an hour by a 150-pound person, burn about 500 calories:

  • Low-impact step aerobics
  • Fast dancing
  • Ice skating
  • Downhill skiing
  • Snowshoeing

To find out how many calories you can burn doing other physical activities, go visit the WellMASS website, and click on Learn & Share > Calculators.

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