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Obesity and exercise

If you are obese and want to lose some weight, it's important to combine healthy eating with regular exercise and physical activity.

Australians are recommended to get at least 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. Moderate intensity physical activity is any activity that increases your heart and breathing rate and may make you sweat, but you are still able to hold a normal conversation.

You don't need to do 30 minutes of exercise all in one go, you can break it up throughout the day into two or three separate 15-20 minute sessions. This level of activity is a good start to help improve your health and help prevent development of chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

If you want to lose weight you may need to build up to 45–60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.

Choose activities that you enjoy, as you are more likely to continue doing them.

Examples of moderate intensity physical activity include:

  • fast walking
  • jogging
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • using a step-trainer or similar at gym

As well as moderate intensity physical activity also try to include strength or resistance training exercise (exercising with weights) on at least 2 days each week, as this can help you burn fat and increase muscle.

Aim to start gradually with short periods of exercise at a time, then build on it to reach the recommended amount.

If you are new to exercise or have pre-existing medical conditions it's a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist will be able to provide an exercise plan suited to your circumstances.

See Australian physical activity guidelines for more information.

Last reviewed: August 2016

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