Family cycling together to maintain a healthy body weight

Physical Activity and Weight Loss: 6 Common Myths Uncovered

While everyone knows active living is essential to weight management and maintaining a healthy body weight, some myths may be keeping you from taking a step to a more active lifestyle.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about physical activity and weight loss:

Myth 1: Daily physical activities such as taking the stairs, standing more than sitting, and walking don't make a difference.

Fact: Everything counts when it comes to weight loss. While daily activities may not improve aerobic fitness, they still burn more calories than sitting in front of the TV or computer.

Myth 2: To get into shape or to lose weight, I must do vigorous exercise.

Fact: While vigorous-intensity physical activity burns more calories in a shorter time, going a bit longer with moderate-intensity physical activities can burn the same number of calories. Any aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, badminton or leisure cycling can help you shed pounds.

Myth 3: Short periods of exercise do not work, as no fat is burned during the first 20 minutes.

Fact: During exercise, you use energy from both fats and carbohydrates. Body fat is burnt within the first few minutes of physical activity. However, it is recommended that you engage in at least 10 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity to reap the health benefits. Remember, even when it comes to burning fat, some physical activity is better than none!

Myth 4: Women who do muscle-strengthening exercises will get big muscles.

Fact: Weight training can help women build muscle, but women do not have enough hormones required to create big muscles. Strength training can help keep tummy fat off your body.

Myth 5: I need special clothing to exercise effectively.

Fact: For most types of physical activity, you don't need special clothing. You can exercise safely and effectively wearing comfortable sports shoes and loose-fitting everyday clothes. However, some activities like cycling or soccer may require you to wear protective gear like helmets or shin guards.

Myth 6: After I reach my ideal weight, I can cut back on the amount of physical activity.

Fact: To maintain your weight, you should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. However, each individual is different and some people may need to accumulate more than 250 minutes of aerobic activity in a week to prevent weight gain. Insufficient physical activity may lead to weight gain again in the long term.

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So Remember...

  • To reduce weight, consume fewer calories than you burn.

  • How much you eat is more important than when you eat.

  • Distribute your calorie intake throughout the day so that your body receives the nutrients it needs and you are less tempted to overindulge, especially in processed foods or fast food.

  • Obsessed over your diet plans? Skipping meals and fad diets cannot be sustained in the long run and don't provide your body with important nutrients you get from eating balanced meals.​​

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