Doctors report good news this week for post-menopausal women
who may be discouraged from exercising by a scale that won't budge.
Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
shows that overweight post-menopausal women who do light exercise
for 45 minutes three to four times per week can lose three pounds
This might not seem like a lot, but when you consider that most
people, middle aged and beyond, usually gain one to three
pounds every year, you are looking at a solid net benefit of four
to six pounds.
Even more important, the study reports that women who engage
in moderate exercise can shed a large amount of intra-abdominal
fat, up to 16 percent. This type of fat, which surrounds the organs
inside the body, is a hidden risk factor for many life-threatening
conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and several cancers.
"You can't see this fat but it's there," says Dr. Ann McTiernan,
the study's lead researcher and a member of the Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash.
Beating Back the Gain
So, while you may feel frustrated that you can't fit into you
goal dress size, "exercise can have health-promoting benefits
that are not visible to the naked eye," says Madelyn Fernstrom,
director of the Weight Management Center at the University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center.
After menopause, most women experience unwanted weight gain
and worry about the health risks of these extra pounds. In the
past, many women have relied on hormone replacement therapy to
keep their weight down, but with recent findings that HRT may
increase breast cancer and heart disease, hormone therapy may
no longer be an option.
Exercise may therefore provide a new and welcome alternative.
"Since intra-abdominal fat is correlated with increased risk of
chronic disease, adding a strategy that lowers body fat and lowers
risk of these diseases without the concern over HRT is tremendously
appealing," explains Dr. Leslie Bonci.
Anyone Can Do It
And there's no need for marathon training, spandex, or heavy-duty
aerobics sessions. In fact, the majority of women in the study
exercised by simply walking or bicycling even on an indoor
stationary bike. So, "this type of change is achievable even in
one's own home," says Leslie Bonci, Director of Sports Nutrition
at the University of Pittsburgh, "there's no need to join a gym."
While the current study dealt solely with post-menopausal women,
it is likely that exercise will produce the same benefit among
men and younger women. In fact, Dr. McTiernan has future plans
to test how exercising compares to dieting for reducing intra-abdominal
fat. She hypothesizes that, when it comes to shedding this hidden
yet dangerous fat, exercising may be even more important than
So don't let the mirror sabotage your health plan. Exercise
will help you achieve the ultimate in weight loss becoming
skinny on the inside!
Reference Source 104