Are you one of the many women who believe that weight gain is inevitable as you get older? Even if you don’t have the body of a college freshman anymore, you don’t have to settle for being overweight.
A 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that postmenopausal women can still lose weight.
The study followed overweight, postmenopausal women from the Seattle area for a year. The 173 participants led sedentary lifestyles and ranged in age from 50 to 75. During the course of the study, half of the women were randomly selected to exercise daily without cutting calories. The other half, who formed the control group, stretched instead of exercising.
The exercise group was instructed to spend 45 minutes working out at moderate intensity five days a week for 12 months. For the first three months of the study, they were required to do three of their weekly workouts at the study’s facility and to work out at home on the other two days. Afterward, they were only required to do one of their five weekly workouts at the facility, but were permitted to exercise at the facility for more sessions if they wanted to.
The exercising women eased into the program, keeping their target heart rates at 40 percent of maximum for 16 minutes of the workout session. By the eighth week, the women were exercising at 60 to 75 percent of their maximum heart rate for the entire 45-minute session. They kept their workouts at that level of intensity for the rest of the study.
Post-Menopausal Women Who Exercise Can Lose Love Handles
At the end of the 12-month study period, the women who had taken up an exercise routine experienced significantly more fat loss than the control group. The women who exercised for a total of about 200 minutes per week lost 4.2% of their total body fat and 6.9% of their belly fat without counting calories. Even better, 84% of the women who took up an exercise routine improved their heart health, leaving them at lower risk for death by obesity-related cardiac problems.
Sticking to a workout program both at home and at the gym has long-term benefits, the study concluded. Based on their findings, the researchers recommend that postmenopausal women who want to lose belly fat take up a moderate-intensity exercise regimen.
So, how can you get the same results at home? First, commit to 45 minutes of exercise most days of the week. You can work out in a gym if that keeps you motivated, or you can save the gym fees and work out at home. Consider investing in a heart rate monitor so that you know you’re meeting your goals during cardio workouts. Don’t worry too much if the number on the scale doesn’t go down—the goal is to lose belly fat, so take your measurements regularly instead of weighing in. Finally, stick with it even if progress is slow! Even if you don’t lose those inches as fast as you’d like, remember that fitness is a lifelong process that will, over time, make you healthier.