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Why is exercise an important part of the program?
Besides helping me look better, what are the benefits of exercise?

Routine exercise is the most important component of any weight loss program because it provides the greatest benefit to improved health and weight loss. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) states:

Regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of dying of coronary heart disease, the nation's leading cause of death, and decreases the risk for stroke, colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It also helps to control weight; contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; reduces falls among older adults; helps to relieve the pain of arthritis; reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression; and is associated with fewer hospitalizations, physician visits, and medications. Moreover, physical activity need not be strenuous to be beneficial; people of all ages benefit from participating in regular, moderate-intensity physical activity, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking five or more times a week.

What is a target heart rate, and how do you figure it out?

For moderate-intensity physical activity, a person's target heart rate should be 50 to 70% of his or her maximum heart rate. This maximum rate is based on the person's age. An estimate of a person's maximum age-related heart rate can be obtained by subtracting the person's age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 - 50 years = 170 beats per minute (bpm). The 50% and 70% levels would be:

  • 50% level: 170 x 0.50 = 85 bpm, and
  • 70% level: 170 x 0.70 = 119 bpm

For vigorous-intensity physical activity, a person's target heart rate should be 70 to 85% of his or her maximum heart rate. To calculate this range, follow the same formula as used above, except change "50 and 70%" to "70 and 85%". For example, for a 35-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 - 35 years = 185 beats per minute (bpm). The 70% and 85% levels would be:

  • 70% level: 185 x 0.70 = 130 bpm, and
  • 85% level: 185 x 0.85 = 157 bpm



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How much time do I need to exercise? How intense does it need to be?

Time depends on intensity. Higher intensity activities require less time spent. Lower intensity activities require more time spent.

Light-Intensity Activities:

  • Walking slowly
  • Golf, powered cart
  • Swimming, slow treading
  • Gardening or pruning
  • Bicycling, very light effort
  • Dusting or vacuuming
  • Conditioning exercise, light stretching or warm up

Moderate-Intensity Activities:

  • Walking briskly
  • Golf, pulling or carrying clubs
  • Swimming, recreational
  • Mowing lawn, power motor
  • Tennis, doubles
  • Bicycling 5 to 9 mph, level terrain, or with a few hills
  • Scrubbing floors or washing windows
  • Weight lifting, Nautilus machines or free weights

Vigorous-Intensity Activities:

  • Racewalking, jogging or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Mowing lawn, hand mower
  • Tennis, singles
  • Bicycling more than 10 mph, or on steep uphill terrain
  • Moving or pushing furniture
  • Circuit training

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