Adding to a mounting body of evidence, a new study by Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, indicating the importance of moderate to vigorous exercise for controlling weight, recommends women should either jump on a bicycle or go for a brisk walk.
The study shows women gain an average of 20 pounds in 16 years (between the years of 25 and 42). However, women whom reported regularly participating in brisk walks or bicycling were much less likely to gain weight. Bicycling for just five minutes a day-helped women gain 1.5 fewer pounds over the duration of the study.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston analyzed data on more than 18,000 women aged from 25 to 42 years participating in the Nurses Health Study, an ongoing research project that began in 1989.
“This research shows that both brisk walking and biking can help prevent weight gain,” says Anne Lusk, a research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health. But slow walking doesn’t keep weight in check, she says. Women need to step it up — or bike, which may be more comfortable for them, she says. Other research shows that men benefit, too, from those types of exercise, she says.
Other studies have show that women who walk or bicycle for two to four hours a week lose an extra 3 to 5-lbs over the year. In fact, bicycling for as little as five minutes every day, helps women minimize weight gain as they enter middle age, especially if they are overweight to begin with.
J. Kyle Mathews, MD
Plano OB Gyn Associates
Plano Urogynecology Associates