We all know you have to exercise to burn calories, but do you know exactly how much exercise you have to do to burn off the snack you just had? It may surprise you. This weekend, I proudly approached my husband after a ½ hour on the elliptical and told him that I did 3 miles in 30 minutes and burned 350 calories. My neighbor who was chatting with him at the time responded “That’s it??? I thought you would get much more for a half hour!” Even more depressing was when we went to the local ice cream store for a banana split to find that it was 450 calories!
This misunderstanding of calories and exercise has transformed our world so that 2/3 of our population is now overweight or obese. The hottest trend lately has been fitness trackers that record steps, sleep and heart rate. I see them everywhere. I even hear colleagues tell me they have to go for a walk to get their 10,000 steps in today. But do you know what 10,000 steps get you? The average person with moderate activity will burn 400-500 calories for every 10,000 steps. You have to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. If you meet a 10,000 step goal every day you should lose 1 pound per week. This is a very healthy goal and a great way to maintain weight loss once you have reached your weight goal. Keep in mind, weight loss is dependent not only on calories burned, but also how many calories you consume.
The FDA has required restaurant chains to post to calorie information on all of their menus. This allows us to better realize how many calories are in the meals that we are ordering. The actual amount may surprise you. The amount of recommended calories daily is based on age, gender and activity. The USDA guidelines recommend 1,600-2,000 calories per day for women and 2,200-2,800 calories for men to maintain your current weight.
So I highly encourage you to be vigilant about the amount of calories you take in daily and how many you are actually burning each day. Keep a record for just one week and you will quickly realize why your jeans are feeling a little snugger. Now know you where you need to do to make changes in your diet or activity to meet your goals.
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