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You should always consult with your healthcare provider before
introducing any changes to your diet or level of physical activity.

Living Well : Physical Activity

Exercise Options: Selecting and Starting a Programmed Physical Activity

The more you enjoy a physical activity, the more likely you are to commit to it as part of a regular routine

Physical activity can be one key to success in weight management. 

It can reduce your risk for heart disease and other serious illnesses. Being active can give you more energy and make you feel better about your body. It can also improve your mood. Best of all, it can help you maintain your weight loss.

Identifying and overcoming barriers

Identifying things that prevent you from being physically active can be very helpful. Embarrassment about your body and fear of new things can stand in your way. Many people also feel they are too busy and have trouble fitting in activity.

Identify your own barriers and plan how you will overcome them together with your healthcare provider. Let’s take the example of Judy. She has been struggling to meet her activity goal of 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. Judy is very busy: she works full-time and has 2 children. She feels like she has no time to be active.

Judy thinks she would really like water aerobics because she loves the water, and her healthcare provider approves of this choice. But, Judy is afraid that people will laugh when she puts on a bathing suit. She also would like to spend more time walking.

Judy described these problems to her sister, Sarah. Together, they brainstormed some solutions. Sarah suggested Judy bring her toddler Jake on her walk. Jake enjoys the time outdoors. Plus, pushing the stroller adds extra activity. Sarah offered to watch Judy’s kids when Judy goes to her water aerobics class. In return, Judy would take Sarah’s kids to the park while Sarah goes to yoga class.

Judy was still worried about wearing a swimsuit in public. Sarah pointed out that most people are so self-conscious in a swimsuit they do not notice what others look like. This thought helped Judy feel better. Sarah and Judy also went swimsuit shopping together. They found a suit that made Judy feel more comfortable and confident for her class.

Choosing the best physical activity for you

The "best" activity is the one approved by your healthcare provider. It is also likely to be the one you enjoy enough to do again. Aerobic exercise can be the best way to improve your heart health. Aerobic means "in the presence of oxygen." You know you are performing aerobic exercise when you start breathing faster, your heart rate increases, and you can sustain that level of activity for an extended period of time. In contrast, anaerobic exercise means "without oxygen" and describes the level of physical activity when you lose your breath quickly and can only sustain activity for a few moments. Examples of anaerobic exercise include weight lifting and sprinting. Aerobic exercise burns more calories from fat. There are so many aerobic exercises; you may have plenty of choices!

Aerobic activities use large muscle groups. These include muscles in your legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms. Brisk walking, hiking, running, swimming, cycling, stair climbing, cross-country skiing, dancing, jumping rope, water aerobics, skating, and rollerblading are all aerobic activities. These activities strengthen the heart and lungs. They also improve the body’s ability to use oxygen. Over time, aerobic exercise can decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. It can also improve your breathing.

When picking an activity, consider these 4 things:

  • Choose something you can do. Consider your current physical condition when choosing an activity. For example, basketball is hard work. It may not be a good idea if you are not in great condition. Consult with your healthcare provider and start with an activity where you can move at your own pace. Walking and cycling are activities that you may easily adjust to meet your needs
  • Choose something you like to do. Hiking may be something that you’ve always wanted to do. Try it! Many people enjoy Nintendo Wii Sports games or Wii Fit activities. Pick something you like and see if your healthcare provider approves. The right activity is likely to be the one you enjoy and will probably stick with
  • Choose a solo or social activity. Would you like to be active alone or with others? If you are a social person, having others around may help you stay motivated. Others enjoy the "alone time." Pick what’s right for you
  • Do not be embarrassed. People may avoid being active in public because they might feel embarrassed—about their bodies, their clothes, and their poor physical condition. If this sounds like you, try to put this thought aside. Take a deep breath, and ask yourself, "Which is more important, avoiding embarrassment or improving my health?"

It’s probably best if you have more than one activity you enjoy and do it regularly. The variety is fun and can be good for you. It also makes it easier to find an activity that fits your day! Let’s take Todd as an example. Todd likes walking and riding his stationary bike. He prefers to be active in the morning. During the week, it is still dark outside when he wakes up. He doesn’t like walking in the dark, so he rides his stationary exercise bike. Todd watches sports news to make the ride more fun. He really looks forward to having his weekend walks outside in the sunshine. When it rains on the weekends, he rides his bike inside instead and watches DVDs. By having 2 activities he enjoys, Todd makes sure he can follow his healthcare provider’s recommendations and be active most days. He uses sports news, music, and DVDs to make his activity time enjoyable.

Most people can find more than one activity they can do. If an outside activity is not possible, then an inside one might work. The key is whether you can stay active months or years from now. This can mostly depend on whether you enjoy it, and that may depend on variety. If you only enjoy one type of activity, that’s probably fine too.

Make it social

For many people, making a physical activity social makes it more enjoyable. Walking with a friend can be a great way to make walking fun. In addition to a walk, you could try an exercise class with a friend or go for a bike ride. This can also be a good strategy to enhance motivation. Knowing that someone else is counting on you can motivate you to be active when you would rather sit on the sofa.

Having a friend with you can make it easier to try a new activity, too. If you and a friend sign up for a new exercise class, you know that there will be another beginner in the class with you!

< Back to Physical Activity


Qsymia® should be used together with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of:

  • 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese) or
  • 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related medical condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol

Limitations of Use:

  • It is not known if Qsymia changes your risk of heart problems or stroke or of death due to heart problems or stroke
  • It is not known if Qsymia is safe and effective when taken with other prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal weight loss products

It is not known if Qsymia is safe and effective in children under 18 years old


Do not take Qsymia if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or become pregnant during Qsymia treatment; have glaucoma; have thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism); are taking certain medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have taken MAOIs in the past 14 days; are allergic to topiramate, sympathomimetic amines such as phentermine, or any of the ingredients in Qsymia. See the end of the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in Qsymia.

Qsymia can cause serious side effects, including:

Birth defects (cleft lip/cleft palate). If you take Qsymia during pregnancy, your baby has a higher risk for birth defects called cleft lip and cleft palate. These defects can begin early in pregnancy, even before you know you are pregnant. Patients who are pregnant must not take Qsymia. Patients who can become pregnant should have a pregnancy test before taking Qsymia and every month while taking Qsymia and use effective birth control (contraception) consistently while taking Qsymia. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to prevent pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking Qsymia, stop taking Qsymia immediately, and tell your healthcare provider right away. Healthcare providers and patients should report all cases of pregnancy to FDA MedWatch at 1-800-FDA-1088, and the Qsymia Pregnancy Surveillance Program at 1-888-998-4887.

Increases in heart rate. Qsymia can increase your heart rate at rest. Your healthcare provider should check your heart rate while you take Qsymia. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience, while at rest, a racing or pounding feeling in your chest lasting several minutes when taking Qsymia.

Suicidal thoughts or actions. Topiramate, an ingredient in Qsymia, may cause you to have suicidal thoughts or actions. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you: thoughts about suicide or dying; attempts to commit suicide; new or worse depression; new or worse anxiety; feeling agitated or restless; panic attacks; trouble sleeping (insomnia); new or worse irritability; acting aggressive, being angry, or violent; acting on dangerous impulses; an extreme increase in activity or talking (mania); other unusual changes in behavior or mood.

Serious eye problems, which include any sudden decrease in vision, with or without eye pain and redness or a blockage of fluid in the eye causing increased pressure in the eye (secondary angle closure glaucoma). These problems can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new eye symptoms.

Common side effects of Qsymia include:

Numbness or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or face (paraesthesia); dizziness; changes in the way foods taste or loss of taste (dysgeusia); trouble sleeping (insomnia); constipation; and dry mouth.

Possible side effects of Qsymia include:

Mood changes and trouble sleeping. Qsymia may cause depression or mood problems, and trouble sleeping. Tell your healthcare provider if symptoms occur..

Concentration, memory, and speech difficulties. Qsymia may affect how you think and cause confusion, problems with concentration, attention, memory or speech. Tell your healthcare provider if symptoms occur.

Increases of acid in bloodstream (metabolic acidosis). If left untreated, metabolic acidosis can cause brittle or soft bones (osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteopenia), kidney stones, can slow the rate of growth in children, and may possibly harm your baby if you are pregnant. Metabolic acidosis can happen with or without symptoms. Sometimes people with metabolic acidosis will: feel tired, not feel hungry (loss of appetite), feel changes in heartbeat, or have trouble thinking clearly. Your healthcare provider should do a blood test to measure the level of acid in your blood before and during your treatment with Qsymia.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus who also take medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Weight loss can cause low blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus who also take medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (such as insulin or sulfonylureas). You should check your blood sugar before you start taking Qsymia and while you take Qsymia.

High blood pressure medicines. If you are taking medicines for your blood pressure, your doctor may need to adjust these medicines while taking Qsymia.

Central Nervous System (CNS) side effects. The use of prescription sleep aids, anxiety medicines, or drinking alcohol with Qsymia may cause an increase in CNS symptoms such as dizziness and light-headedness. Do not drink alcohol with Qsymia.

Possible seizures if you stop taking Qsymia too fast. Seizures may happen in people who may or may not have had seizures in the past if you stop Qsymia too fast. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to stop taking Qsymia slowly.

Kidney stones. Drink plenty of fluids when taking Qsymia to help decrease your chances of getting kidney stones. If you get severe side or back pain, and/or blood in your urine, call your healthcare provider.

Decreased sweating and increased body temperature (fever). People should be watched for signs of decreased sweating and fever, especially in hot temperatures. Some people may need to be hospitalized for this condition.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of Qsymia. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to VIVUS LLC at 1-888-998-4887 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Please read the Qsymia Medication Guide and Full Prescribing Information.

The Q and Me Patient Resources and Education site is based on the LEARN® Program provided under copyright license (September 15, 2010). All rights reserved.


Do not take Qsymia if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or become pregnant during Qsymia treatment; have glaucoma; have thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism); are taking certain medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have taken MAOIs in the past 14 days; are allergic to topiramate, sympathomimetic amines such as phentermine, or any of the ingredients in Qsymia. See the end of the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in Qsymia.