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A balanced diet should be part of any weight control plan. A diet high in complex carbohydrates and moderate in protein and fat will complement an exercise program. It should include enough calories to satisfy your daily nutrient requirements and include the proper number of servings per day from the "basic four food groups" : vegetables and fruits (4 servings), breads and cereals (4 servings), milk and milk products (2 - 4 depending on age) and meats and fish (2).

Experts recommend that your daily intake not fall below 1200 calories unless you are under a doctor's supervision. Also, weekly weight loss should not exceed two pounds.

Remarkable claims have been made for a variety of "crash" diets and diet pills. And some of these very restricted diets do result in noticeable weight loss in a short time. Much of this loss is water and such a loss is quickly regained when normal food and liquid intake is resumed. These diet plans are often expensive and may be dangerous. Moreover, they do not emphasize lifestyle changes that will help you maintain your desired weight. Dieting alone will result in a loss of valuable body tissue such as muscle mass in addition to a loss in fat.


The estimates for number of calories (energy) used during a physical activity are based on experiments that measure the amount of oxygen consumed during a specific bout of exercise for a certain body weight.

The energy costs of activities that require you to move your own body weight, such as walking or jogging, are greater for heavier people since they have more weight to move. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds would use more calories jogging one mile than a person jogging alongside who weighs 115 pounds. Always check to see what body weight is referred to in caloric expenditure charts you use.


A. Sedentary Activities Energy Costs
Lying down or sleeping 90
Sitting quietly 84
Sitting and writing, card playing, etc. 114
B. Moderate Activities (150-350)
Bicycling (5 mph) 174
Canoeing (2.5 mph) 174
Dancing (Ballroom) 210
Golf (2-some, carrying clubs) 324
Horseback riding (sitting to trot) 246
Light housework, cleaning, etc. 246
Swimming (crawl, 20 yards/min) 288
Tennis (recreational doubles) 312
Volleyball (recreational) 264
Walking (2 mph) 198
C. Vigorous Activities More than 350
Aerobic Dancing 546
Basketball (recreational) 450
Bicycling (13 mph) 612
Circuit weight training 756
Football (touch, vigorous) 498
Ice Skating (9 mph) 384
Racquetball 588
Roller Skating (9 mph) 384
Jogging (10 minute mile, 6 mph) 654
Scrubbing Floors 440
Swimming (crawl, 45 yards/min) 522
Tennis (recreational singles) 450
X-country Skiing (5 mph) 690

*Hourly estimates based on values calculated for calories burned per minute for a 150 pound (68 kg) person.

*(Sources: "William D. McArdle, Frank I. Katch, Victor L. Katch, "Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance" (2nd edition), Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, 1986; Melvin H. Williams, "Nutrition for Fitness and Sport," William C. Brown Company Publishers, Dubuque, 1983).

Source : The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

The consumer health information on is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness regimen.