Just recently, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed how to put the brakes on mid-life weight gain: Exercise. A lot.
For 13 years, the study followed more than 34,000 healthy women with an average age of 54, and tracked their diet, exercise, and body weight. The researchers found that some 13% of women who started at a normal, healthy weight maintained it to plus or minus 5 pounds during the 13-year period.
However, the vast majority of women gained weight steadily with each passing year, gaining an average of 5.7 pounds. When exercise levels were evaluated, those who maintained a healthy weight were found to exercise, on average, 60 minutes a day, five days a week. But for women who may already be overweight, these guidelines are not sufficient to spark significant weight loss, so a strict diet and/or more exercise and diet would be necessary to shed pounds for those who are in their mid-40s or older.
The news reports about the study were overwhelmingly negative, assuming that women would never have the time, nor inclination to get at least an hour a day of exercise, most days a week.
I, however, am a person who is busy, works more than full-time, and manages to exercise more than an hour a day, six days a week. And you know what? It’s not that hard, and it doesn’t consume my life. So, I thought I’d gather some exercise insights from several women who manage to meet the hour-a-day recommendation, and then some.
Here’s what they suggest:
Look for twofers: This is when you combine meeting a friend with exercise, instead of lunch or dinner. Or, when you have to take the kids to soccer or swimming, take their workout time to run the soccer field or around the school track instead of sitting on the sidelines.
Make a mobile workout closet: If you are shuttling kids around in a car, keep your workout clothes or jogging shoes in the trunk. That way, if you come across a park, you can always take advantage of a quick workout.
Go to bed earlier: Most busy women are a.m. exercisers, and they often work out before their family even wakes up. If it’s already in the bank first thing in the morning, there’s nothing that can make you cancel it. But to get up early, it’s essential to go to bed earlier. Hate mornings? Use these tips to become a morning exerciser.
Make it easy: Have your workout clothes out and at the ready in the evening. The more you make exercise a habit, the more it becomes a routine just like brushing your teeth.
Enter an event: Signing up for a race or charity exercise event will give you that extra push to get in shape. Enter with a friend and you'll all have each other for motivation.