Last updated: Apr 18, 2008
You know what happens next: Menopause enters the picture and usually sticks around for at least four to five years. Thanks to hormonal changes, fat is likely to migrate from your hips and thighs to your tummy—and youre left with the dreaded “flat-butt syndrome.”


This midlife morph isnt just about looks: If your waist-to-hip ratio tops 0.85 (divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement), you also have a higher risk of heart disease. Whats more, without exercise, says Columbia University professor of clinical medicine Marianne Legato, you could lose up to two-thirds of your muscle. Plus, this is when your skin starts to sag as muscle decreases, especially around places like your upper arms and knees. No doubt about it: Its time to get moving!

Cardio routine
This 50-minute weight-bearing routine helps build and preserve both bone and muscle, and keeps your heart healthy. Plus, the weights up your calorie burn.

Do it 4 times a week, carrying 1- to 3-pound dumbbells during the entire walk.

1. Walk briskly for 4 minutes to warm up.

2. Slow your pace and do 1 minute of Overhead Presses: Bend arms and raise elbows out to side to shoulder height. Straighten arms, bring ends of weights together overhead, then lower them.

3. Walk briskly for 4 minutes.

4. Slow your pace and do 1 minute of Biceps Curls: Start with arms down by sides, palms facing forward. Curl weights up to shoulders.

5. Walk briskly for 4 minutes.

6. Slow your pace and do 1 minute of Triceps Extensions: Start with arms down by sides. Bend elbows back past waist, hands in front of hip bones. With elbows still, straighten arms; press weights back.

7. Walk briskly for 4 minutes.

8. Repeat steps 2 through 7 two more times. During the last 4 minutes of the workout, gradually slow your pace to cool down.

Strength Training

This 15-minute routine helps build and maintain bone and muscle, and increases your metabolism. Do it 2–3 times a week. Use 5- to 8-pound dumbbells, then increase to 8–10 pounds as you get stronger. Rest for 1 minute between moves.