Regular physical activity is essential to the maintenance of health, and unfortunately, Americans are less active today than ever before. Busy schedules, labor saving devices, high technology transportation and electronic entertainment have all led to a more and more sedentary life style. While they are a great convenience, elevators, escalators and remote controls have helped to make us fatter and less fit.

Daily activity is crucial to weight loss as well as to weight loss maintenance. It is generally felt that all adults should incorporate 30 minutes of sustained exercise into each day to maintain health, but this level of activity may not be sufficient to generate significant weight reduction. ( The Surgeon General's Report on Activity and Health).

Obese people can find it particularly difficult to start an exercise program because of the great stresses their weight places upon them. A number of common-sense behavioral changes can help ease such people into a more daily active life:

  • Let your doctor know you plan to start a new program.
  • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of exercise.
  • Choose exercises that you enjoy and that are easy to add to your daily routine
  • Think about simple changes in habit that can add to your activity level (e.g. take the stairs instead of the elevator).
  • Read for more ideas about getting moving.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy that your body expends in a day when you engage in no activity. (It is the energy you need just to lie in bed and survive.) When you calculate your BMR and add it to the energy you use for your daily activities, you can see how many calories you can take in just to stay balanced. In order to lose weight, one clearly needs to expend more calories than one takes in.

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