Expert Q&A

Exercise & weight loss maintenance: How much exercise is enough?

How much do I need to exercise to keep the weight I already lost from coming back?

Maintaining a lower, healthier body weight is something you can accomplish! Research suggests that overweight women who exercised at least four hours and 40 minutes per week were able to maintain a weight loss of approximately 29 pounds over one and a half years. More importantly, these individuals did not regain weight. However, individuals who exercised less than three hours and 20 minutes per week showed significant weight regain during the same 18-month period.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 60-90 minutes per day of moderate–intensity physical activity to sustain weight loss for previously overweight people.

Moderate physical activity is roughly equivalent to physical activity that uses approximately 150 calories of energy per day, or 1,000 calories per week.

Examples of Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity




2 miles in 30 minutes (15 min/mile)

Swimming laps

20 minutes

Playing basketball

20 minutes


45 minutes

Dance class (fast tempo)

30 minutes


5 miles in 30 minutes

Jumping rope

15 minutes

Raking leaves

30 minutes

Cindy Guirino, RD/LD, CDE, CNSD, ACE PT
Contributing Expert

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