More than 60% of Americans are now overweight or obese, with
more women than men falling into this category. Being overweight
increases a person's chances of developing numerous chronic
conditions, including high blood pressure; heart disease;
diabetes; stroke; and breast or colon cancer. Exercise and
proper diet can both successfully help you combat weight gain.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association
focused on only one of these weapons against weight gain:
exercise. For a one-year period, 173 overweight or obese women,
ages 50 to 75, completed either an exercise or a stretching
program. Exercisers completed moderate-intensity exercises,
like walking or stationary biking, for an average of three
hours per week, while women in the other group stretched once
per week but didn't add exercise to their program.
Women who exercised lost several pounds over the year, while
women who stretched actually gained weight. Although weight
loss in exercisers was modest, fat loss was significant: Those
who worked out at least three hours and 15 minutes each week
cut their abdominal body fat by 7% and their total body fat
by 4.2%, while the stretching-only women saw no significant
changes in body fat. Predictably, the more exercise a woman
completed, the more
weight and body fat she lost.
Don't get weighed down by what your scale says. Even if exercising
only helps you shed a few pounds, it is probably vastly improving
your health while creating a leaner, fitter you. On top of
looking better, working out will improve your cardiorespiratory
fitness levels, which can reduce your risk for cardiovascular
disease. Also, incorporating a healthy diet into your exercise
program will yield much greater weight and fat reductions.
Irwin ML, Yasui Y, et al. Effect of exercise on total and
intra-abdominal body fat in postmenopausal women: A randomized
controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association
2003:289(3), pp. 323-330.
For more studies on the benefits of exercise, head to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/sports.