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Thursday, February 28, 2008

In Your 40s? Do This to Lose Weight

When you hit middle-age, the best way to keep the pounds off is to walk. A lot.

A study from the University of Pittsburgh found that when overweight, middle-aged people walked briskly for 30 to 60 minutes a day, they lost 7 pounds in a year and a half. Those who didn't walk gained 7 pounds in that same amount of time, reports USA Today.

The study: 209 adults who were 15 to 29 pounds overweight and had an average age of 45 were divided into three groups:

Group 1: They were given general information about exercise, including a recommendation to exercise daily for 30 minutes.

Group 2: They were told to be physically active for at least 150 minutes a week, which is 30 minutes a day for five days a week. They also took weekly classes to learn more about why and how exercise is important.

Group 3: They were instructed to exercise 300 minutes or more each week, which is about 45 to 60 minutes a day. They also attended behavior classes.

  • Everyone in the study was advised to eat a healthy diet but not restrict their calories.
  • Most people chose walking as their preferred exercise.

The results: Fully 60 percent of the participants from all three groups lost weight, on average 7 pounds. About 40 percent gained weight during the 18-month period, on average 7 pounds. The people who lost weight were the ones who engaged in moderate exercise seven days a week for about 40 minutes a day.

"This is a weight difference of 14 pounds between people who exercised and those who didn't," John Jakicic, director of the University of Pittsburgh's Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center, told USA Today.

It gets better. In a different study, researchers at the University of North Carolina analyzed data over a 15-year period on 5,000 young adults over age 15. Those who walked regularly four or more hours a week were the least likely to gain weight as they age. "Extra walking prevents weight gain at a time of life when many people are gaining," Penny Gordon-Larsen, an assistant professor of nutrition at UNC, told USA Today.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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