The data says...those who lose weight and keep it off exercise an hour a day. So, that is what I'm going to do. I'll eat my 5 a day, I'll exericse an hour every day.
Exercise programs will always have to start at the beginning phase. This means to start with low intensity, low duration, low frequency and progressively increase frequency first, then duration, and lastly intensity. I've gone through this phase already. I've been doing a 1/2 hour bike ride to and from work for the past 6 weeks. Time to start into the Improvement phase. Intervals, weight training, tempo workouts...here I come!
An hour a day seems like a lot...but if you can do it, more power to you. I try to exercise a little bit each day but that would be more along the lines of a 20 minute minimum and goes up to as much as an hour and a half if I'm going to a yoga class.
What you are doing is great! According to the recommendations by the American Collage of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association you are right on. However, if you look at the data- those who want to lose weight and want to keep it off may need to do more. According to the Insitute of Medicine this means that one will need to do an hour of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. For someone like me, who is small and therefore doesn't eat much, trying to get a deficit in my caloric balance it makes more sense to try to burn more calories so that my nutrition doesn't suffer. Plus, my job is sedentary. That means on most days, I sit at my desk for 8 hours. So, getting an hour of leisure time activiity is really not that much and I love it. I know you are trying to make exercise and activity accessable to everyone, but the hard truth is, we as a country need more exercise. Currently only 23% of Americans meet the minimum requirement and that mimimum is for cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health- not neccessarily for weight loss/maintenence. Check out the data on the National Weight Loss Registry.