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Want to Lose Weight? Then Exercise 60-90 Minutes Everyday

You might have noticed that for many months now I have recommended that if a person has weight to lose that 90 minutes of daily exercise is required. I received quite a bit of grief about this from many individuals as being excessive, but I just have not seen consistent good results with exercise levels less than this.

Please remember that this excessive amount of exercise is only required because overweight individuals have accumulated an exercise debt that must be repaid. Once a normal weight level is acheived then one can reduce levels to 45 minutes three to four times a week for weight maintenance.

If you don't think you have the time to devote to a daily exercise program -- as spelled out in new dietary guidelines announced by the government last week -- plenty of experts besides me don't buy that excuse. One expert estimates Americans have as much as 41 HOURS of free time each week, certainly more than enough time to eke out at least 30-60 minutes daily for exercise.

In fact, leisure time has grown significantly for most, as men and women have gained about five hours of free time a week over the past 40 years. How? Time-use experts suggest some are retiring earlier, working less or spending less time on housework.

The extra time, experts say, comes in small packages of a half-hour here and there. So what are people doing with that extra time? Sitting blindly in front of the TV, tossing down a hot bag of trans-fatty fast food. There are several ways to ease into a good routine.

One expert suggests spending a half-hour daily on a structured exercise plan, then accumulating the remainder in short bursts, like 15-minute power walks or taking regular breaks from your work desk. The trick for people who feel they're time-challenged: Take it slow and start small with the idea of building a daily routine.

I strongly encourage you to review the exercise guidelines I've posted on my Web site, along with a variety of articles from Ben Lerner and Paul Chek, some of America's leading experts on fitness who follow my philosophies.

USA Today January 19, 2005

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