Rev up the treadmill: New research spells out just how much exercise women need to keep the flab off as they age - and it's a lot.
At least an hour of moderate activity a day is needed for older women at a healthy weight who aren't dieting. For those who are already overweight, and that's most American women, even more exercise is called for to avoid gaining weight without eating less, the results suggest.
Brisk walking, leisurely bicycling and golfing are all examples of moderate exercise.
The findings are based on 34,079 middle-aged women followed for about 13 years. Most were not on calorie-cutting diets. The women gained an average of almost 6 pounds during the study. Those who started out at a healthy weight, with a body mass index less than 25, and who gained little or no weight during the study consistently got the equivalent of about an hour of moderate activity daily. Only 13 percent of the women were in that category.
The results echo what gymfuls of middle-aged women see every time they step off the treadmill and onto the scale.
"Talk to any group of women and they all say the same thing," said Janet Katzin, 61, of Jericho, a "slightly overweight" marketing director who exercises for an hour twice a week.
Thin as a younger adult, Katzin said the pounds started creeping up after she had her two children in the 1980s, despite exercising and watching what she eats. "It's just extremely frustrating and discouraging."
Katzin was not involved in the study, which appears in today's Journal of the American Medical Association. - AP