Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Weight Management Center

Healthy Living


ExerciseThe benefits of exercise

Exercise lowers blood pressure and can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Exercise also helps to improve emotional well-being, reduce appetite, improve sleeping ability, improve flexibility, and lower LDL cholesterol. Consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

Exercise helps to keep and add lean body mass, or muscle tissue, while also promoting fat loss. It increases the rate of weight loss if used along with a healthy eating plan, because muscle tissue has a higher rate of metabolism; muscle tissue burns calories faster. In order to burn fat and build muscle, exercise should include both cardiovascular training (activities that raise your heart rate to its target rate) and strength training. Walking is an excellent choice of cardiovascular exercise for anyone, including people who are obese - it's easy to do and prevents stress upon the joints. A walking program should start slowly. Start with a 30 minute walk 3 or more times per week, and gradually increase things like walking speed, distance, time and your number of walks per week.

You're never too busy to exercise!

A typical day for most adults in the U.S. encourages a sedentary lifestyle and becoming active takes some effort. Driving or riding in an automobile and working at a desk restrict activity. Watching television is a sedentary activity that can contribute to an inactive lifestyle.

There are simple steps that can be taken to increase daily activity:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Park your car at the far end of the parking lot and walk to the store or the office.
  • Get off the bus one stop early (if you are in an area safe for walking).
  • Turn off the television, computer or video game system and head for the garden, rake the leaves, wash the car, or take a walk.
  • Find activities that the whole family will enjoy, such as tennis, rollerblading, or hiking. Children's health is heavily affected by their parents' health, so making exercise a family activity will benefit everyone.

By looking at your daily routine, it may be easier than you think to add more activity into the day in addition to regular exercise. Dividing 30 minutes of exercise into smaller blocks throughout your day (such as three 10-minute walks up the stairs, from your car, etc.) can have the same benefit as 30 minutes of continuous exercise. Work some exercise into your daily schedule, and you'll see the rewards.