The Key to Maintaining Your Weight Is Exercise...and Lots Of It

I have bad news: the typical 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, three times a week (as probably recommended to you by your 8th grade gym coach) simply won’t cut it if you want to maintain your weight. According to Reuters, a new study suggests you’ll have to commit a little (OK, a lot) more time to working out if you want to prevent long term weight gain.

Lead researcher Trine Moholdt, of the KG Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, explains for Reuters that “150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 60 minutes of vigorous exercise per week” simply isn’t enough — which just so happens to be the recommended amount for general health by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (not for weight maintenance). How deceiving!

So how much exercise should we be getting exactly?

The study, which observed 19,000 people over 22 years, concluded that those who exceeded the recommended amount of time one should spend exercising maintained their weight. But even then, they discovered that some weight gain with age is simply “inevitable." Le sigh.

With that in mind, there isn’t a specific answer (other than going above those previously recommended numbers). However, two sources — one being The Institute of Medicine, and the other, a 2010 study by Moholdt — suggest getting about one hour a day of "moderate-intensity physical activity" might be the sweet spot.

On the flip side, there is such a thing as getting too much exercise, according to the Huffington Post. "Obsessive exercise" happens when you become addicted to working out. If you feel like you might be pushing your body too far, there’s an app (shocking) that will tell you if that's the case. One hour doesn't apply to everyone!

The general consensus (for those who want to maintain their weight): ignore Dr. Google and spend more than 150 minutes exercising. Just don't go overboard!