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Physical Activity Myth

Regular physical activity is important for good health, and it's especially important if you're trying to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight.

  • When losing weight, more physical activity increases the number of calories your body uses for energy or "burns off." losing weight The burning of calories through physical activity, combined with reducing the number of calories you eat, creates a "calorie deficit" that results in weight loss.
  • Most weight loss occurs because of decreased caloric intake. However, evidence shows the only way to maintain weight loss is to be engaged in regular physical activity.
  • Most importantly, physical activity reduces risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes beyond that produced by weight reduction alone.

Myth: Lifting weights is not good to do if you want to lose weight, because it will make you "bulk up."

Fact: Lifting weights or doing strengthening activities like push-ups and crunches on a regular basis can actually help you maintain or lose weight. These activities can help you build muscle, and muscle burns more calories than body fat. So if you have more muscle, you burn more calories — even sitting still. Doing strengthening activities 2 or 3 days a week will not "bulk you up." Only intense strength training, combined with a certain genetic background, can build very large muscles.

Tip: In addition to doing at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity . . . like walking 2 miles in 30-minutes on most days of the week, try to do strengthening activities 2 to 3 days a week. You can lift weights, use large rubber bands (resistance bands), do push-ups or sit-ups, or do household or garden tasks that make you lift or dig.