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Losing Weight (Cardiovascular)

Excess weight is a major risk factor for heart disease. Losing weight may help keep your arteries open so that your heart can get the oxygen-rich blood it needs. Weight loss can also help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for diabetes. All in all, losing weight makes you healthier.

Man and woman outdoors walking a dog.

Calories and Weight Loss

  • Calories are the fuel your body burns for energy. You get the calories you need from the food you eat. For healthy weight loss, women should eat at least 1,200 calories a day, men at least 1,500.

  • When you eat more calories than you need, your body stores the extra calories as fat. One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories.

  • To lose weight, try to burn 500 calories a day more than you eat. To do this, eat 250 calories less each day. Add activity to burn the other 250 calories. Walking 2.5 miles burns about 250 calories.

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods to get the nutrients you need.

Tips for losing weight:

  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.

  • Don’t skip meals. Instead, eat smaller portions.

Brisk Activity Is Best

Brisk activity gets your heart pumping faster and it makes it healthier. It’s also the best way to burn calories. In fact, your body may keep burning calories for hours after you stop a brisk activity.

  • Begin by walking 10 minutes most days.

  • Add more time and speed to your walk. Build up as you feel able.

  • Try to walk briskly at least 30 minutes most days. If needed, you can break this into 2 shorter sessions. Walk briskly enough that you become aware of your own breathing.

Try the ideas below to make your day more active:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

  • Park your car farther away and walk.

  • Ride a bike to work or to the store.

  • Walk laps around the mall.



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