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A Little Exercise = Bigger Benefits For Midlife Women

You know it’s true, but did you realise how even a very small amount of exercise can make such a huge difference to your waistline and your health?

Dr Andrew Weil

Here’s some good news for postmenopausal women: a new study has shown that the exercise you perform a bit later in life has a greater impact on your body composition than the effects younger women would realize with the same amount of effort.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst reported that, overall, the 275 postmenopausal women who participated in the study spent less time moving and more time sitting than the 630 premenopausal women enrolled in the investigation. They also found that sedentary behavior was more strongly linked to waist circumference in the postmenopausal women.

Exercise benefits greater at mid life than when younger

However, when the postmenopausal women performed light exercise – even casual walking or yard work – their bodies benefited more than did the bodies of the premenopausal women. For the study the women wore accelerometers, devices that measure movement, to estimate their physical activity and time spent in sedentary pursuits.

“Across the board, for each measure of body composition, we found that light physical activity had a greater impact in postmenopausal compared with premenopausal women,” reported lead author Lisa Troy, Ph.D.

Bottom line: postmenopausal women may have greater control of their weight and shape than they may think, and may realize more benefits from physical activity than their younger counterparts.

Helpful information:

Given how clear the benefits of exercise are, it is hard to know why we are often so reluctant to undertake it. The best method is to simply incorporate it into your daily life – it does not have to be frantic or sweaty but a simple brisk walk or dancing round the kitchen 5 minutes a day will all help. The key is always to find something you enjoy and do it little and often – or just make one or two extra trips up and down the stairs in a day if that helps.

Weight at menopause is often a problem and it is clear that sitting too long will definitely expand your waistline, but so too will hormone imbalance. If you are bloated and uncomfortable it may be you need to look at whether you have symptoms of oestrogen dominance that can be addressed.

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