JAMA: Women Should Exercise for an Hour Every Day

Maryee Health Guide
  • Did you hear about the new study conducted by researchers from Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital that was in the Journal of the American Medical Association? You know, the one that said that middle age women who are not cutting calories need to exercise one hour each day in order to maintain their weight. Are they kidding?!


    Who has that kind of time to exercise? I wish I did!  I'd love to get on my bicycle and ride down the bike path everyday. But really, us middle-aged women have to work (as in, earn money), get kids to school and get homework done, go to the supermarket, cook dinner, keep the laundry  going and the house generally in order; all that before getting in to bed at midnight or one in the morning. When am I supposed to fit in an hour of exercise? I already get up at 6am; should I be getting up at 5am so I can maintain my weight? No wonder we are all so overweight!

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    A generation ago, we weren't facing these problems of such high rates of, not only overweightness but obesity.  I saw a stunning statistic on the news the other night that over 60% of this country is either overweight or obese.  And really, if you look around it seems to be true. And I myself am among those statistics. I am overweight. I never imagined I'd be in this category. 


    But, looking around at my family, we were never overweight as children. We were all healthy and all played school sports. And, even now as adults the males in the family have all maintained a generally fit physique while the women in the family continuously go up and down with their weight and struggle to maintain a balance. (I never know anytime I go home for a family get together how the women are going to look. At one point someone might look great and then a few months later they've noticeably put on significant weight) So, is this a middle age thing? Is it a gender thing?  Maybe there is some truth to this study afterall.


    But, then again, a generation ago women didn't have this problem. My mother, while not having the shape of a teenager, certainly was within the normal weight range. In fact, most mothers of my classmates were in good shape. It really was the odd one that was extremely overweight and inevitably someone would say it was due to a thyroid problem. So how did they do it? My mother was not out playing tennis everyday.  Instead she spent a good deal of her time driving me and my brothers and sisters to and from school, sports practices and friends houses. And if not that she was shopping, cleaning or cooking. So there was definitely no time for "formal" exercise everyday.


    So I have to think it goes back to the food we are eating. We've become too fast-paced,  just picking something up on the way and off we go. Stopping at a fast-food restaurant when I was a kid was a real treat and happened only occasionally. We ate a home cooked dinner every night! Today my kids have their choice of 4-5 fast food places they can stop at each day after school when they get off the bus - and those places have becomes meeting places for teenagers - but of course, they have to eat something if they are going to hang out there!


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    But for me, even though I am making a conscious effort to lose weight, I am struggling to lose any significant weight and keep it off. I keep losing and regaining the same 7 pounds!  I guess I'm going to have to step it up on the exercise front if I'm going to lose any weight to talk about. Seems that's the key to making any real difference.


Published On: April 12, 2010