I cannot tell you how many times in the past week I’ve had a gal pal say to me, “Did you see the news that we have to exercise an hour a day just to keep from gaining weight!?!?” Not lose weight, mind you…oh no, we’re talking about just keeping the pounds from piling up.
By “we,” they mean any middle-aged woman; by “exercise” they don’t mean just a leisurely walk in the park, they mean moderate exercise. That means brisk walking, playing tennis, dancing and cycling. You gotta break a sweat. The “they” behind this little lightening bolt is a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association – dang! I was hoping the source would be The Church of Scientology, them I can ignore. But these researchers were at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Med School <sigh>. Ladies, put down that caffe mocha latte; read it and weep:
They tracked for 13 years more than 34,000 U.S. women who took part in the long-term Women’s Health Study. The women, who were 54 years old on average at the study start and ate an average American diet, had their weight measured every three years from 1992 to 2007.
Over that time, the women gained an average of almost six pounds.
Only 13 per cent of the women maintained a healthy weight throughout the study. Those were the women who got an hour of “moderate” exercise a day on average or more.
Mother Nature sure is one mean old broad when it comes to how she treats her daughters, isn’t she? It isn’t enough to put us through the wringer known as menopause, now we find we have to work our butts off just to keep from having an even bigger butt!
And listen, I know she means well, but the study’s lead author I-Min Lee is just throwing salt in the wound when she tries to tell us that we shouldn’t be discouraged by her findings:
I think the easiest thing is actually commuting,” she said in comments to Reuters, suggesting people walk or bike to work, and if they drive, to park farther away from the office.
She also recommends that women who don’t want to take on more physical activity should permanently cut back on calories, to prevent packing on more pounds.
Bike to work or permanently cut back on calories, Ms. Lee….that’s your good news?
I’ll bet she’s 23 and a size 4.