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Move It (A Lot) to Keep It Off
Written by August 26, 2008

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

physical activity
weight loss maintenance
Move It (A Lot) to Keep It Off

You have heard the expression, “you have to move it to lose it.”  It’s a no brainer that regular physical activity teamed with a reduced-calorie diet leads to weight loss in most people.  Now a new study confirms that physical activity – a lot of it – is critical to preventing weight regain in women who have previously lost a significant amount of weight.

In this study, women who lost at least 10% of their initial body weight were much more likely to keep it off after two years if they exercised on average at least 275 minutes per week.  That comes out to about 40 minutes every day or 55 minutes if done five days of the week.  Ouch!  With today’s time-starved lifestyles, who has the time to devote to something that many people don’t see as “productive time?”  

But it is not as dire as you might think.  Here are a couple of scenarios that demonstrate that there are many ways to add in and add up minutes of physical activity each day.


  • Walks his dogs for 10 minutes before leaving for work.
  • Parks at farthest point from his office and walks seven minutes.
  • Takes a five-minute morning “head clearing walk.”
  • Walks 10 minutes at lunch.
    Takes a 40-minute salsa dance class after work.
          Total Physical Activity = 72 minutes


  • Works out on an elliptical trainer at a local health club for 45 minutes in the morning before going to work.
  • Her job as a customer service rep keeps her sedentary the rest of the day.
  • Walks to the park with her kids (walking time = 20 minutes).
          Total Physical Activity = 65 minutes

How can you fit in 60 minutes of at least moderate-intensity per day on at least five days a week?  Include your ideas in the comments section below.

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