Fighting the Flab

As we grow older, we tend to pack on extra pounds. Regular exercise may slow the middle-age spread, but how much do you need?

One hour or more of daily moderate-level exercise may help normal-weight women beat the bulge, suggests a new study published in the Journal of the American Medication Association. If you're overweight or obese, you may need to combine regular exercise with calorie restriction to prevent weight gain.

For the study, researchers tracked more than 34,000 middle-age women for 13 years. All the women gained weight, but the most active group (who did moderate-level activities), with a BMI in the normal range (25 or under), gained the least--an average of 5 pounds or less.

During moderate-level activity, you should breathe harder and find it more difficult to talk, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. If you are just beginning an exercise program, slowly work up to moving at a moderate-intensity pace.

Popular activities:

  • walking or hiking
  • jogging
  • running
  • bicycling
  • aerobic exercise
  • dancing
  • using exercise machines
  • yoga, stretching or toning
  • tennis, squash or raquetball
  • lap swimming.

Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 04 May 2010

Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011