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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Being active to lose weight

Kia hohe e whīroki ai

Being active is important for good health, but physical activity on its own is not usually enough to lose weight. You need to combine being active with eating well.

Be active every day

To stay a healthy weight, try to do at least 2½ hours of moderate activity every week, spread throughout the week. One way to do this is to do 30 minutes most days of the week. Moderate activity means you find it hard to hold a conversation but are still able to talk. You should also notice that you start to get warm, but not too hot.

If you are trying to lose weight, you need to do more – aim for five hours of moderate activity every week.

Starting out

If you have a health condition such as high blood pressure or heart problems, talk to your general practice team before you start. Also talk to your general practice team if you have not been active for a while and have concerns about your health.

Start slowly – begin with five to 10 minutes and build up to more regular activity. You might find your muscles get stiff and sore – this should go away as you get used to being active. But if being active causes any pain, talk to your general practice team or physiotherapist.

Tips for being more active

overweight couple walking their dog on the beach

If you need help being more active, talk to your general practice team about Support for getting active (initiatives to help adults get physically active). They can also refer you to a personal trainer or physiotherapist for specific advice and support.

A physiotherapist (or physio) can assess your individual needs and develop an activity plan tailored to you. This plan will help you overcome whatever has made it hard to exercise and improve your health, wellbeing or performance. You are likely to have three or four sessions with your physiotherapist over three to six months. But this depends on how much support and advice you want.

You can find a physiotherapist near you by searching on Physiotherapy New Zealand's website. There will be a cost to see a physiotherapist.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2022.


Page reference: 412303

Review key: HIMWA-28082