For the study, researchers analyzed the habits of contestants and found that those who have been able to maintain significant weight loss did an average of 80 minutes of moderate exercise a day (think: walking) or 35 minutes a day of something more intense, like running. (Hit the reset button—and burn fat like crazy with The Body Clock Diet!)
That’s more exercise than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends Americans strive to get as a baseline. According to the CDC, people should try to have at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise in order to be healthy. By comparison, former Biggest Loser contestants need 560 minutes a week of moderate exercise or 245 minutes of vigorous exercise.
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The findings tie in closely with the researchers’ study that was released last year. That study, also published in Obesity, found that slowed metabolisms and a decrease in leptin, a hormone that helps control hunger, left former contestants feeling more hungry than they did before their weight loss and with a metabolism that wasn’t working as well as it did before.
Basically, the researchers now say that while eating well and exercising helped the contestants lose the weight initially, maintaining a good exercise program helps counteract their slowed metabolism.
Of course, weight loss is personal and what works for one person might not work for another. But if you’ve lost weight and are struggling to keep it off, it may be worth looking at your exercise habits as well as your diet. And, if you can fit in a few more minutes of working out a day, it may help you maintain your goal weight.