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Women Who Workout Young Gain Less Weight Later in Life

Men are notorious for being able to lose weight faster and usually more easily than women, but in the gender weight-loss battle, women may have a new secret weapon: workouts!

According to new research in the December issues of the Journal of the American Medical Association, when people engage in moderate to vigorous activity nearly every day of the week as young adults, they gain significantly less weight by middle age. While this was true in both men and women, women seem to be more affected by the young-adult activity.

To be considered “high-activity,” men and women had to get 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week. This included traditional exercise such as group exercise and walking, along with recreational and household activities like basketball, housework or construction work. It’s important to note that those who got less-intense exercise didn’t see any difference in their weight later in life.

So, just how much did activity matter? Quite a bit. Highly active women gained an average of 13 pounds less than those with low activity earlier in life. Men with high activity gained about 6 pounds less than their low-activity peers. There could be several reasons behind the gender difference, researchers say. First, is that women may be less likely than men to overestimate their activity — as other studies have shown — or that men in the high-exercise group compensated by eating more than those who got less exercise. Researchers note that the high-activity women didn’t eat more than low-activity women in the study.

I love this type of research because it just goes to show you that what you do consistently throughout your life can make a really big difference on your health and your weight. When it comes to being healthy, it really isn’t a sprint — it’s a choice you make day after day, week after week, month after month, and even year after year!

December 27th, 2010

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