A study recently published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows postmenopausal obese women who exercised 300 minutes per week were better at reducing fat. The finding was important, according to the study’s authors, because body fat, abdominal fat and weight gain in postmenopausal women have been associated with increased risk of breast cancer.
The one-year clinical trial compared 300 minutes of exercise per week with 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for its effect on body fat in 400 inactive postmenopausal women. The women, who had body mass indexes between 22 and 40, maintained their usual eating habits throughout the study.
Lauren A. Cerqua, MPT, who manages St. Clair Hospital’s outpatient physical therapy unit, says exercise for any person at any age can have a huge impact on health and wellness. But she is concerned the study revealed that the previously inactive women who exercised twice as long per week at 300 minutes (an hour a day, five days a week!) lost only 2.2 pounds more than the group who exercised 150 minutes.
“It would be difficult to convince women to double their effort for such a small amount of extra weight loss,” says Lauren, who works with her team in a ground floor suite in the St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center—Village Square, Bethel Park. What’s more, she says, “Most of the exercise in the study was cardio—elliptical, cycling, walking and running. I would be interested to see the results if the exercise had included weight training or resistive exercise.
Lauren suggests a focus on overall lifestyle changes. “Fat loss can be achieved a variety of ways, and I believe a balance of healthful nutrition and exercise that involves resistance training might be a better way of achieving increased fat loss.”
To contact Lauren A. Cerqua, MPT, please call 412-942-7122.