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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

Stay Active

Physical activity can do more than lead to weight loss. It's also proven to have a significant number of other health benefits

Keep your body moving to keep it fit

Try to keep your body moving to keep it fit. Regular physical exercise can be essential to losing weight and keeping it off. People who keep weight off tend to be very active. In a survey of people who lost weight and kept it off, good eating habits and physical activity were the only habits that almost everyone shared. Most kept up a high level of activity–about an hour a day or more of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking.

Any physical activity is probably better than none at all; but raising your activity level can help improve your weight loss. The US Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, recommends at least 2½ hours of moderate activity per week for most adults. To keep a stable weight, HHS recommends 2½ to 5 hours of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking at a pace of about 4 miles per hour. You may want to increase your activity to more than 5 hours per week to lose weight.

Healthy eating and physical activity go well together. The combination can do more to help you lose weight than either one alone. But physical activity can do more than just burn the calories you eat; some experts think it may help curb your appetite so you eat less.

Physical activity has benefits beyond weight loss alone. Here are some ways being active could make your life better:

  • Daily living. Being active can make it easier to do the tasks of day-to-day living. If you’ve had a hard time walking, climbing stairs, or doing other daily activities, staying active may help.
  • Feeling better. Physical activity can help your mood. Active adults have a lower risk of depression and being active during the day may also improve sleep at night.
  • Quality of life. Physical activity may boost your quality of life by giving you more energy and improving your overall health. If you suffer from chronic pain, staying with the exercise program recommended by your healthcare provider may help.
  • Healthy metabolism. Being active can cut your risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Aging well. As you grow older, being active can help you live independently. An active lifestyle can make it easier to keep doing your normal daily activities and may also slow down mental decline. Physical activity can also keep your bones strong and help prevent falls, lessening your risk of a broken hip or other broken bones.
  • Living longer. Most of all, being active may help people live longer. Studies have shown that staying physically active reduces the risks of dying young.
  • Heart disease. Being active may protect you from heart disease and stroke. Physical activity can keep your blood pressure low and improve your cholesterol profile. What’s more, being active can improve your overall fitness.
  • Cancer. Being active can also help keep you safe from some forms of cancer. Physical activity lowers your risk of colon and possibly lung cancer. If you’re a woman, it also cuts your risk of breast cancer and possibly cancer of the uterus lining. Furthermore, being active improves fitness and quality of life in people who have survived cancer.

What can you do to stay active?

First, talk with your healthcare provider before you change your physical activity level. Staying active is great for your health, but trying to do too much or doing the wrong kind of activity can be risky. You don’t want to try too hard and get sidelined with an injury that could keep you from being active at all. Your healthcare provider will know what is healthy for you and what activities are best. Your healthcare provider will also direct you about the best time during the day to fit physical activity into your schedule and will help you pace yourself to slowly build up to your goal.


  • Maintain your activity level. Increase it if your healthcare provider recommends. As we said before, people who lose weight and keep it off tend to be very active. On average, successful weight losers put in about 60 to 75 minutes of moderate activity (brisk walking) or 35 to 45 minutes of vigorous activity (jogging) per day. Most people could safely manage an hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, even if they are overweight or not used to exercise. Again, talk to your healthcare provider before you introduce any changes to your physical activity level.

Here are some ideas you could follow to keep yourself moving:

  • Walk. The number one activity of long-term weight losers is walking. One survey looked at the physical activity of people who lost weight and kept it off: 4 out of 5 walked at least a little bit; more than half of the participants walked a mile a day or more.

Walking can be a great choice for physical activity. You can walk on your own or with friends, you can set your own pace, you don’t need any special equipment, and you can do it year-round. You can walk almost anywhere you are and, if you’re careful, you have a low risk of getting hurt. Walking also burns almost as many calories as running the same distance.

Many people enjoy walking. And of course, the more you like it, the more you’re likely to walk. Some people like to walk with a friend or a pet; others walk alone. Choosing a scenic new place can make walking an adventure. This and other tactics can make a daily walk a daily pleasure.

Don’t forget to dress for comfort when you walk.

Other activities

Of course, there are other ways to stay active, besides walking. In the survey discussed earlier, 2 out of 3 people engaged in other activities in addition to or separate from walking.

Resistance training was the next most popular choice: about 1 out of 3 people in the survey did some resistance training.

Aerobic exercise was also very popular in the survey: 1 person in 5 rode a bicycle, 1 in 6 did aerobics, 1 in 7 ran, and 1 in 7 also used cardio machines.

The survey found a few other choices: 1 person in 10 did floor conditioning, such as yoga and pilates, and 1 in 20 swam.

Whether it’s jogging, cycling, swimming, or yoga, remember, what works best is what your healthcare provider recommends. Don’t worry what other people think and don’t let it stop you from keeping up with your program.

Another option is vigorous exercise. If you were hesitant to start vigorous exercise when you were less in shape, you may be ready now. Talk to your healthcare provider.

An exercise tracker can help you select appropriate activities. You can usually get some new ideas and learn about the calories you could burn. The more physical activity you do, the more likely you are to enjoy it—and the more you enjoy it, the more active you can be. Get additional tips on choosing and getting started on a new activity. As always, talk with your healthcare provider first.

Turn off your TV and computer

One more thing you can do is cut back on inactive behaviors, such as watching TV, surfing the Web, and playing videogames. People who watch more TV are likely to eat more, weigh more, and move their bodies less. Similarly, those who spend more hours using their computer or the Internet outside of work are more likely to be overweight.

One study looked at the TV-watching habits of people who lost weight and kept it off. The study found that long-term weight losers watch much less TV than most people. Almost 2 out of 3 weight losers watched 10 hours a week or less and more than 1 out of 3 watched less than 5 hours a week. Compare these numbers with those of the average American adult who watches 28 hours of TV per week. Among long-term weight losers, only 1 in 8 watched more than 20 hours of TV a week. What’s more, those who watched more TV were more likely to gain the weight back.

Besides watching TV, extensive use of the Internet and computer outside of work may cause you to gain weight. One recent Japanese study found that high levels of TV and computer screen time (>21 hours/week) combined with less than 150 minutes per week of exercise time placed people at risk of being overweight. Another study conducted in Australia found that people who spend 3 or more hours of their daily free time in front of a computer screen are nearly 1.5 times more likely to be overweight than those who don’t spend any. Interestingly, those who reported high levels of Internet and computer use were more likely to be overweight even when they engaged in high levels of physical activity. Internet use is increasingly popular worldwide, and it can be your weight-loss friend if used appropriately; it can help you find healthy recipes, new ideas for physical activities, and motivational support. However, please beware of aimless Web-browsing, clicking through videos, etc; these can steal time when you could be physically active.


  • You may want to add some new physical activity to your routine:
    • Always talk with your healthcare provider about any risks
    • You could try something active you haven’t done
    • You don’t have to love everything you try. If you try something and don’t like it, you could try something else instead the next week


  • Discuss a sustainable physical activity routine with your healthcare provider.
  • Try to find a new physical activity that fits with your new routine and that you haven’t tried yet.

Again, always talk with your healthcare provider before you start a new activity.

< 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.