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Healthy Weight

Healthy Weight: How can physical activity help?

A healthy weight is generally considered to be when your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Those above or beneath this will be considered underweight or overweight.

Being physically active for at least 150 minutes a week will have an impact on your body weight and overall fitness. The more you are active, the more exercise you’ll be able to do, and thus the more weight you’ll be able to lose.

How can physical activity help achieve a healthy weight?

It’s no secret that regular physical activity can positively influence weight loss and keeping the weight off. However, this generally works best when combined with a lower calorie, healthier eating plan.

For those wanting to lose weight, this can have various benefits on your life that stretch beyond the weight loss itself.

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Increased self-esteem and confidence


Reduces risk of diabetes and heart disease


Reduces strain on the rest of your body (joints, heart etc.)

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Potential to learn new hobbies and skills

As well as causing physical changes, being overweight can increase the likelihood of developing a number of serious long-term health conditions. These include type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.

By maintaining a healthy weight, you’ll begin to see changes in your confidence, wellbeing and your overall health. You may also find a new sport or exercise that you really enjoy, and can make friends from. This will then increase your social opportunities.

Getting started: Exercising for a healthy weight

Start small. The biggest improvements come from making small changes that you can increase safely, and incorporate into your daily routine.

This could be taking the stairs not the lift, parking at the back of the car park or getting off the bus a stop early. You could also try walking short journeys.

Remember, even if increasing your physical activity levels does not result in you losing weight straight away, it can bring other health benefits.

Suitable exercise ideas for those who are overweight

If you lead an inactive lifestyle, you may find some exercises harder than other to begin with but you will improve with practise.

Ideas to get started:

There is no scenario in which exercise is a bad thing. For more information on physical activity guidelines and how active we should be, check out our Get Active section.

For Healthcare Professionals

Below is some key information about the science behind healthy weight. There are also some useful resources which you can download or signpost patients to. 

For further information about having conversations with people living with weight concerns and physical activity please visit Moving Medicine and the E Learning Page for directive conversation support.

Woman lifting weight in the gym
Man walking in a forest

How can physical activity help with obesity?

Obesity results from energy imbalance: too many calories in, too few calories burned. A number of factors influence how many calories you burn each day. Among these are age, body size, genes and the amount of physical activity you complete.

To help with weight loss, unless you reduce your energy intake (i.e. cut down on sugary and fatty foods), it is recommended you complete 225 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity or 110 – 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week.

Alternatively, you can complete a mixture of moderate and vigorous activity.

Norfolk obesity stats

An estimated two in five (41.9%) people in Norfolk are overweight.

One in four (23.8%) of the Norfolk population are obese which is slightly lower than the England average (25.2%)

One in fifty (2.4%) are morbidly obese, which is similar to the England average (2.5%).

You can read the full report below.

Resource bank for healthy weight:

There are several local charities and funds that can help if you need support in losing weight. Take a look at our related pages at the bottom. We’ve got plenty of light exercises to get you started.

For men aged 18+ who live or work in Norfolk, the Man v Fat challenge is free thanks to a partnership between the programme and Norfolk County Council. There’s also a Man v Fat Football League available. These programmes are a fantastic way to start living a healthier lifestyle.

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