Thursday, December 16, 2010

Diet and Exercise Key to Age-Related Weight Gain

(Article first published as Physical Activity Limits Age-Related Weight Gain, Diet and Exercise Key to Weight Loss on Technorati.)
Physical activity level is an important part of a successful weight loss regimen. Physical activity duration has been shown to be predictive of weight gain over the years, and can influence critical health biomarkers that predict risk of disease. Research indicates that while regular exercise is important to weight loss and maintenance goals, it cannot be used as a sole means to avoid age-related weight gain.

Study Finds Physical Activity is Part of the Weight Gain Solution
People naturally tend to gain weight as they age due to lowered metabolic rate without a corresponding reduction in calories. The results of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association show that women who attain a high level of physical activity when young are significantly more likely to avoid excess weight gain during mid and later life.

The study followed more than 3,500 women over a period of 20 years. Participants were evaluated for weight, BMI, waist circumference and dietary habits at the beginning of the trial and at six intervals thereafter. Women with the highest levels of physical activity that exercised for at least 150 minutes each week gained 20 pounds over the 20 year period, while those with the lowest levels gained more than 33 pounds.

Television Watching Linked to Excess Weight
Spending too much time in front of your television is not good for your health or your waistline. In addition to weight gain, television watching has been shown to increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. The lack of physical activity means calories are burned at a low base rate and we usually pack on extra calories with processed snack foods.

Information revealed in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal confirms that television watching causes metabolic changes in the body that cause cardiovascular disease. Further, the amount of time spent watching TV is directly related to weight gain. Time in front of the TV is time you aren’t physically active and burning calories.

Get Moving and Eat Less!
We have all heard the importance of exercising more and eating less for the benefit of our health and waistline. Research studies repeatedly confirm the importance of staying active. Exercise causes important metabolic changes in our body that determine how we burn and store fat. Physical activity naturally releases sugar from the blood into our cells and muscles to be burned as fuel and prevents insulin resistance and the road to diabetes.

While exercise is part of the answer to prevent age-related weight gain, reducing calories is also essential. Women with the highest activity levels still put on an average of one pound per year by mid-life. As those women reach their senior years, they could be carrying an extra 50 to 75 pounds, placing them at greatly increased risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia.

The answer to the age-related weight problem is a healthy balance between regular physical activity and lower caloric intake. Plan 150 minutes of exercise each week, turn off the TV and limit calories from processed foods, sugary drinks and refined breads, pasta, rice and desserts. With a little discipline you can win the age-related weight loss battle and lower your risk of disease.

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