Activity Calorieshour

Walking 300

Bicycling 300

Aerobics 400

Swimming 400

Tennis 500

Basketball 500

Jogging 700

Compare those numbers, remembering that they're for a full hour spent nonstop in the exercise, with the calories in the following food items:

Tasty Treat

Calories

Peanut butter sandwich Pizza (3 slices) Big Mac

275 500 560

Clearly, even an hour a day of exercise doesn't account for much food. And what's the likelihood you'll find the time to spend a full hour, every day, month after month, year after year, doing those exercises?

So, don't exercise to try to burn off calories and lose weight. Unless you're a professional athlete or obsessed with sports, you're not likely to spend enough time exercising strenuously enough to make much of a difference. Exercise will help you lose weight in more subtle ways. Regular exercise increases your rate of metabolism: the number of calories you burn all the time. Plus, for many people, exercise actually reduces appetite.

But these are side effects: hardly reasons to start exercising. The real reasons to exercise are that you'll live longer and feel better. Let's consider the case for exercise from those standpoints.

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