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Physical Activity: The Calorie Connection -

One way that regular physical activity protects against heart disease is by burning extra calories, which helps you to lose excess weight or stay at your desirable weight.

To understand how physical activity affects calories, it is helpful to consider the concept of “energy balance.”

Energy balance is the amount of calories you take in relative to the amount of calories you burn.  You need to burn off about 3,500 more calories per week than you take in to lose 1 pound.

If you need to lose weight for your health,  regular physical activity can help you through one of two approaches.

First, you can choose to eat your usual amount of calories, but be more active.

Second, you can eat fewer calories and be more active. This is the best way to lose weight, since you’re more likely to be successful by combining a healthful, lower-calorie diet with physical activity.

Most of the energy you burn each day, about three quarters of it, goes to activities that your body automatically engages in for  survival, such as breathing, sleeping, and digesting food.

The part of your energy output that you control is daily physical activity. Any activity you take part in beyond your body’s automatic activities will burn extra calories.

Even seated activities, such as using the computer or watching TV, will burn calories, but only a  very small number.

That’s why it’s important to make time each day for moderate-to vigorous physical activity.

The Benefits Keep Coming -

In addition to protecting your heart in numerous ways, staying active:

■ May help to prevent cancers of the breast, uterus, and colon.

■ Strengthens your lungs and helps them to work more efficiently.

■ Tones and strengthens your muscles.

■ Builds stamina.

■ Keeps your joints in good condition.

■ Improves balance.

■ May slow bone loss.

Regular physical activity can also boost the way you feel. It may:

■ Give you more energy.

■ Help you to relax and cope better with stress.

■ Build confidence.

■ Allow you to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly.

■ Help you to beat the blues.

■ Provide an enjoyable way to share time with friends or family.

Go for the Burn!

Some physical activities burn more calories than others. Below are the average number of calories a 154-pound person will burn, per hour, for a variety of activities.

(A lighter person will burn fewer calories; a heavier

person will burn more.) As you can see, vigorous-intensity activities burn more calories than moderate-intensity activities.

Moderate Physical Activity  /  Calories Burned Per Hour

  • Hiking                                 370

  • Light Gardening                    330

  • Dancing                                330

  • Golf                                     330

  • Bicycling (less than 10 mph)    290

  • Walking (3.5 mph)                  280

  • Weight lifting (light workout)    220

  • Stretching                             180

Vigorous Physical Activity   /  Calories Burned Per Hour

  • Running/jogging                               590

  • Bicycling (more than 10 mph)             590

  • Swimming (slow freestyle laps)          510

  • Aerobics                                          480

  • Walking (4.5 mph)                            460

  • Heavy Yard Work                              440

  • Weight Lifting (vigorous workout)       440

  • Basketball (vigorous)                        440


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