Losing weight, even a modest amount, can lead to improvements in your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. Aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise, or cardio, is a well-known method to improve health and promote and sustain weight loss. Participating in two or more exercise sessions per day can help you to meet the recommended amount of aerobic exercise needed to lose weight.
The American College of Sports Medicine, or ACSM, states that 50 to 60 minutes or more of aerobic exercise on at least five days per week may be necessary for weight loss. If you are new to exercise, start with 30 minutes each day and work your way up to 60. The ACSM also recommends that you exercise at a moderate intensity, or a level that increases your heart rate noticeably while still allowing you to carry on a conversation.
Benefits of Multiple Sessions
If your available time for aerobic exercise is a concern, the ACSM reports that aerobic exercise can be done in shorter bouts of at least 10 minutes in duration. Doing multiple, shorter bouts of 30, 20 or 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can also help you avoid boredom and fatigue. Doing multiple sessions per day will allow you to gain the health benefits and calorie burn associated with aerobic exercise.
Walking, swimming, cycling, running and other sports that require continuous running are popular types of aerobic exercise. The American Council on Exercise recommends choosing an activity or activities that you enjoy to increase your chances of sticking with your aerobic exercise routine. You can also choose a variety of activities each day to meet the recommended amount of aerobic exercise for weight loss.
Aerobic exercise should be an important part of your weight loss plan, but the Harvard School of Public Health also points out that what you eat, and how much, can affect your ability to reach your weight loss goal. Along with regular aerobic exercise, it recommends eating less, filling up on nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and avoiding sugar-sweetened drinks and treats. Regular aerobic exercise, especially when coupled with healthy eating habits, can help you reach your weight loss goal while preserving or increasing your lean body mass.
Before starting a regular exercise program, a pre-exercise screening may be necessary to make sure you are ready for the recommended amount of exercise. The ACSM recommends talking with your health-care provider and checking for heart disease risk factors before beginning your exercise routine. After medical clearance, you should begin your aerobic exercise routine gradually until you meet the recommended amounts. If your sessions are too long, breaking them down into multiple sessions of at least 10 minutes will help you stay motivated and encouraged to continue.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How much physical activity do adults need?
- "ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription"; Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., ed.; 2010
- American Council on Exercise: Fit Life: Does the Type of Physical Activity I Choose Matter?
- Harvard School of Public Health: How to Get to Your Healthy Weight
- "The Culprit and the Cure"; Steven G. Aldana, Ph.D.; 2005
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.