How Much Exercise Do I Need To Lose Weight?

 A reader wrote in asking “How much exercise do I need to lose weight?” The answer is a lot less than you might think. In fact, less weight loss exercise is often more.


When it comes to exercises for weight loss, less might actually be more. If your weight loss plan is too intense, take it down a notch.

 According to a new Danish study, people who exercise for half an hour a day lose more weight than those who exercise for an hours a day.

People who do less weight loss exercises lose more weight ? ? ? . . .

Weird, no? Scientists believe that by exercising a little less people on weight loss plans leave themselves with enough energy to continue to live a healthy lifestyle for the rest of the day one the workout is finished. Comparatively, those who exercise for an hour are so tired they lose willpower and, after their workout, adopt less healthy habits.

“The people in the study who exercised less found they had the energy to stay motivated to their weight loss plans,” said University of Copenhagen scientist Dr. Astrid Jesperson. “They’ll take the dog for a walk or take the stairs. In comparison, the people who exercised more felt exhausted afterwards and were demotivated.”

The subject studied 60 people for 13 weeks, with half the group doing 30 minutes of cycling, jogging or cross training and the other half exercising for an hour.  The men who exercised for 30 minutes lost 3.6 kg after 3 months, where the others lost 2.7 kg.

Perhaps this news is not altogether that surprising. Probably the most important part of any weight loss program is motivation and willpower. If you exhaust yourself you’re not going to feel motivated to carry on. Conversely, 30 minutes of exercise gets your body working but also leave you feeling positive about your weight loss program.

But it just goes to show, if you’ve been asking “how much exercise do I need to lose weight” the answer might be less than you think. 

Why Less Weight Loss Exercises is Actually Better for You


The lesson here is to exercise but not to such a point that you feel exhausted afterwards. Do enough exercise to get your body working and to give your weight loss a lift, but don’t do more than that. If you lose 30 minutes of exercise you lose 30 minutes of exercise, if you lose motivation your weight loss plan may be dead and buried.



So, the best kind of weight loss exercise to do is whichever you feel comfortable with. Recently, I started exercising again myself. I wasn’t actually overweight but I was far from fit. Knowing that if I did too much I’d end up exhausted and completely demotivated, I started just gradually. I started by walking half an hour a day. That’s not much, right? It’s pretty easy.

So for the first few weeks I was just walking once a day for thirty minutes. Then I started running at scout’s pace (which is running then walking then running and so on). This meant I was starting to burn more calories but again I wasn’t going nuts. I was starting off gradual so I could keep going.

After running at scouts pace I felt I was ready to start running. So I started running for half an hour a day. Again, I wasn’t pushing myself, I was just doing what I could do. Then I upped my amount of running. Im now running about four miles a day, and I’ve added an extra workout later in the evening, usually something fun like dance or Tai Chi, something not too strenuous.

But here’s the real point. Had I started running from day 1 I would have been exhausted and in pain. That would have demotivated me. I would have stopped exercise altogether.

Instead, I started gradually, working with my body, being honest with what my body was and was not ready to do. And because of this smooth approach, I’m now continuing my exercise routine and am getting back the body that I want; but I’m only here because I was kind to myself.

Be kind to yourself.  Next time you ask yourself “how much exercise do i need for weight loss” remember to be gentle to yourself. Go at the pace you can go at. Dont force it. Dont push yourself too hard. 

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