Last updated: Apr 21, 2008
This decade, a combo of perimenopause, an ever-slowing metabolism, and too little exercise inches the numbers on your scale higher. Youre more likely now to see your waistline grow, thanks to the stress of worrying about your career or the future, or caring for children and/or aging parents.


That stress causes your body to produce more cortisone, which directs fat toward your middle and may up your risk of heart disease, says Marianne Legato, MD, professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University. Those extra pounds may also move you right into the high-risk zone for conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, cautions Howard Sesso, ScD, associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Womens Hospital. One solution: exercise.

Cardio routine
This 35-minute routine not only helps with coordination and builds bone without straining your joints, but will also burn belly fat fast. Do it 4 times a week.

1. Find a challenging but doable hill or series of hills.

2. Walk briskly for 5 minutes to warm up.

3. Power-walk up the hill, then jog back down.

4. Do 20 Walking Lunges: Step forward with your right foot and lower into a lunge position (make sure that your right knee doesnt extend past your toes). Step forward with your left foot and repeat the lunge on the opposite side.

5. Walk at a fast pace until you reach another hill, or circle back to the initial hill.

6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for 25 minutes.

7. Cool down with 2 minutes of slow jogging and 3 minutes of walking at a moderate pace.

Strength routine

This 15-minute routine is ultraeffective at building and maintaining bone, muscle, flexibility, and balance. Do it 2–3 times a week using 5- to 8-pound dumbbells, then move up to 8–10 pounds as you progress. Rest for 1 minute between moves.