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30 Minutes of Exercise May Keep Off Middle Age Pounds

A study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago adds hard science to back the association between regular exercise in young adulthood and avoiding the extra pounds that often come with middle age. The study was published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the study the researchers followed 3,600 young men and women between 18-30 years of age for 20 years. During that time the participants’ physical activity, weight and waist circumference was measured.

The researchers found that the most important thing for keeping off the pounds was consistent exercise over the course of the 20 years.

They also found that consistent exercise appeared to be more effective at keeping off the extra pounds among women, with active women gaining 1.5 fewer inches around the middle and 13 fewer pounds. For men, consistent activity resulted in an average decrease in weight gain of 6 pounds and 1 inch less around the waist.

Not surprisingly, the researchers did find that the more someone exercised the less weight they gained. However, a moderate level of exercise of 30 minutes 5 days a week appeared to provide significant benefits.

The researchers noted that there are many ways to get those 30 minutes of moderate exercise even if it’s hard to get to the gym daily. Little things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking instead of driving and parking farther away can really have an impact.

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