We’ve done several reports on how a little exercise can go a long way. Here’s the latest on that file. According to a new study, for middle-aged women, it only takes five minutes a day of biking or brisk walking to head off those extra pounds.
Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health followed more than 18,000 healthy pre-menopausal women over 16 years and found those who added as little as five minutes of those exercises to their routine experienced less weight gain.
The positive results from those five minutes showed up regardless of intensity. But to get the preventive effect from walking, it has to be at a rate of about 140 steps per minute — as if you’re late for the bus. Slow walking offered no advantage.
We’re not talking about a huge amount of weight here. Those who biked five minutes a day gained about 1.5 fewer pounds over the course of the study. Obviously, more exercise if better. Women who increased their daily biking by 30 minutes gained about 3.5 fewer pounds than the others.
Meanwhile another study from Massachusetts General Hospital, found 10 minutes of exercise a day can trigger profound and lasting changes in metabolism and improve overall health.
The main message for women is that exercise doesn’t have to be punishing. Building it gradually into a daily routine, especially as transportation, is enough to improve health and help prevent obesity.