Physical Activity

Exercise Can Help Control Weight

fleshiness results from department of energy asymmetry : besides many calories in, besides few calories burned. A number of factors influence how many calories ( or how much “ energy ” ) people burn each day, among them, age, body size, and genes. But the most variable factor-and the most easily modified-is the sum of activity people get each day .
Keeping active can help people stay at a healthy weight unit or lose weight. It can besides lower the gamble of kernel disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood imperativeness, osteoporosis, and certain cancers, a well as reduce stress and boost climate. Inactive ( sedentary ) lifestyles do just the opposite .
Despite all the health benefits of forcible activity, people worldwide are doing less of it-at work, at home, and as they travel from place to stead. globally, about one in three people gets little, if any, physical activity. ( 1 ) physical activity levels are declining not lone in affluent countries, such as the U.S., but besides in low- and middle-income countries, such as China. And it ’ randomness clear that this refuse in physical natural process is a samara contributor to the ball-shaped fleshiness epidemic, and in flex, to rising rates of chronic disease everywhere .
The World Health Organization, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and early authorities recommend that for good health, adults should get the equivalent of two and a half hours of moderate-to-vigorous forcible bodily process each week. ( 2 – 4 ) Children should get even more, at least one hour a day. There ’ randomness been some argument among researchers, however, about equitable how much action people need each day to maintain a healthy weight or to help with weight loss, and the most holocene studies suggest that a total of two and a half hours a week is plainly not enough.

This article defines forcible bodily process and explains how it is measured, reviews physical bodily process trends, and discusses the character of physical activity in burden command .

Definitions and Measurement

Though people often use physical activeness and exercise interchangeably, the terms have different definitions. “ physical bodily process ” refers to any consistency movement that burns calories, whether it ’ south for work or play, daily chores, or the daily commute. “ drill, ” a subcategory of physical activity, refers to -planned, structured, and repetitive- activities aimed at improving physical seaworthiness and health. ( 5 ) Researchers sometimes use the terms “ leisure-time physical activity ” or “ recreational physical natural process ” as synonym for exercise .
Experts measure the saturation of physical action in metabolic equivalents or METs. One MET is defined as the calories burned while an individual sits restfully for one minute. For the average adult, this is about one calorie per every 2.2 pounds of body weight per hour ; person who weighs 160 pounds would burn approximately 70 calories an hour while sitting or sleeping. Moderate-intensity physical action is defined as activities that are arduous adequate to burn three to six times angstrom much energy per minute as an individual would burn when sitting softly, or 3 to 6 METs. Vigorous-intensity activities burn more than 6 METs .
It is challenging for researchers to accurately measure people ’ s common physical activity, since most studies rely on participants ’ reports of their own action in a review or daily log. This method acting is not entirely dependable : Studies that measure physical activity more objectively, using special motion sensors ( called accelerometers ), suggest that people tend to overestimate their own levels of activeness. ( 6 )


Worldwide, people are less active nowadays than they were decades ago. While studies find that sports and leisure natural process levels have remained stable or increased slightly, ( 7 – 10 ) these leisure activities represent only a little part of casual physical activity. physical natural process associated with work, home, and fare has declined due to economic growth, technological advancements, and social changes. ( 7, 8, 10, 11 ) Some examples from different countries :

  • United States. In 1950, 30 percent of Americans worked in high-activity occupations; by 2000, that proportion had dropped to only 22 percent. Conversely, the percentage of people working in low-activity occupations rose from about 23 percent to 41 percent. (8) Driving cars increased from 67 percent of all Global Soccer trips to work in 1960 to 88 percent in 2000, while walking and taking public transit to work decreased. (8) About 40 percent of U.S. schoolchildren walked or rode their bikes to school in 1969; by 2001, only 13 percent did so. (12)
  • United Kingdom. Over the past few decades, it’s become more common for U.K. households to own second cars and labor-saving appliances. (13) Work outside the home has also become less active. In 2004, about 39 percent of men worked in active jobs, down from 43 percent in 1991-1992. (11)
  • China. Between 1991 and 2006, work-related physical activity in China dropped by about 35 percent in men and 46 percent in women; women also cut back on physical activity around the house-washing clothes, cooking, cleaning-by 66 percent. (10) Transportation-related physical activity has also dropped-no surprise, perhaps, given that car ownership is on the rise: Sales of new cars in China have gone up by about 30 percent per year in recent years. (14)

The flip side of this decrease in physical bodily process is an increase in sedentary activities-watching television, playing video games, and using the calculator. Add it up, and it ’ second clear that globally, the “ department of energy out ” side of the energy proportion equality is tilting toward weight advance .

How Much Activity Do People Need to Prevent Weight Gain?

Weight profit during adulthood can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Since it ’ s so hard for people to lose system of weights and keep it off, it ’ s better to prevent weight unit gain in the first place. encouragingly, there ’ randomness potent testify that staying active can help people slow down or stave off “ middle-age spread ” : ( 13 ) The more active people are, the more likely they are to keep their weight sweetheart ; ( 15, 16 ) the more sedentary, the more likely they are to gain weight over time. ( 17 ) But it ’ second still a count of debate precisely how much activeness people need to avoid gaining weight. The latest attest suggests that the recommended two and a half hours a week may not be enough .
The Women ’ s Health Study, for model, followed 34,000 middle-age women for 13 years to see how a lot physical activity they needed to stay within 5 pounds of their weight at the beginning of the study. Researchers found that women in the convention system of weights crop at the beginning needed the equivalent of an hour a day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity to maintain a firm weight. ( 18 )
vigorous activities seem to be more effective for weight control than slow walk. ( 15, 19, 20 ) The Nurses ’ Health Study II, for exemplar, followed more than 18,000 women for 16 years to study the relationship between changes in physical activity and weight. Although women gained, on average, about 20 pounds over the course of the study, those who increased their physical action by 30 minutes per sidereal day gained less weight than women whose bodily process levels stayed steady. And the type of bodily process made a deviation : bicycling and brisk walk-to helped women avoid weight gain, but boring walk did not .

How Much Activity Do People Need to Lose Weight?

use can help promote weight loss, but it seems to work good when combined with a lower calorie eat design. ( 3 ) If people don ’ triiodothyronine curb their calories, however, they probably need to exercise for long periods of time-or at a high intensity-to lose burden. ( 3, 21, 22 ) Black Mountain Bike
In one discipline, for case, researchers randomly assigned 175 fleshy, inactive adults to either a control group that did not receive any use teaching or to one of three practice regimens-low volume ( equivalent to walking 12 miles/week ), medium intensity ( equivalent to jogging 12 miles/week ), or high intensity ( equivalent to jogging 20 miles per week ). All learn volunteers were asked to stick to their common diets. After six months, those assigned to the high-intensity regimen lost abdominal fat, whereas those assigned to the low- and medium-intensity use regimens had no change in abdominal adipose tissue. ( 21 )
More recently, researchers conducted a exchangeable trial with 320 post-menopausal women, randomly assigning them to either 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity, five days a week, or to a control group. Most of the women were fleshy or corpulent at the start of the study. After one class, the exercisers had significant decreases in body weight, torso fatten, and abdominal adipose tissue, compared to the non-exercisers. ( 23 )

How Does Activity Prevent Obesity?

Researchers believe that physical activity prevents fleshiness in multiple ways : ( 24 )

  • Physical activity increases people’s total energy expenditure, which can help them stay in energy balance or even lose weight, as long as they don’t eat more to compensate for the extra calories they burn.
  • Physical activity decreases fat around the waist and total body fat, slowing the development of abdominal obesity.
  • Weight lifting, push-ups, and other muscle-strengthening activities build muscle mass, increasing the energy that the body burns throughout the day-even when it’s at rest-and making it easier to control weight.
  • Physical activity reduces depression and anxiety, (3) and this mood boost may motivate people to stick with their exercise regimens over time.

The Bottom Line: For Weight Control, Aim for an Hour of Activity a Day

Being reasonably active for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the workweek can help lower the risk of chronic disease. But to stay at a goodly system of weights, or to lose weight, most people will need more physical activity-at least an hour a day-to counteract the effects of increasingly sedentary lifestyles, angstrom well as the firm social influences that encourage overeating .
Keep in mind that staying active is not strictly an individual choice : The alleged “ built environment ” -buildings, neighborhoods, fare systems, and other human-made elements of the landscape-influences how active people are. ( 25 ) People are more prone to be active, for exercise, if they live near parks or playgrounds, in neighborhoods with sidewalks or bicycle paths, or close adequate to work, school, or denounce to safely travel by motorcycle or on foot. People are less likely to be active if they live in sprawling suburbs designed for driving or in neighborhoods without diversion opportunities .
local and state governments wield several policy tools for shaping people ’ s physical surroundings, such as planning, partition, and other regulations, ampere well as setting budget priorities for exile and infrastructure. ( 27 ) Strategies to create safe, active environments include curbing traffic to make walk and bicycle safe, build up schools and shops within walking distance of neighborhoods, and improving public exile, to name a few. such changes are substantive to make physical activity an built-in and natural part of people ’ s everyday lives-and ultimately, to turn around the fleshiness epidemic .


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