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Fun Ways to Stop Middle-Age Spread

Fun Ways to Stop Middle-Age Spread

Need some inspiration to start working out? Here's some. If you're physically active throughout early adulthood, you can look forward to a slimmer waist and a trimmer body in midlife than your couch-potato cousins can.

For women, the numbers are dramatic. Their waistlines are typically 1.5 inches smaller and their bodies 13.4 pounds lighter. Guys wind up 5.7 pounds lighter, with waists 1.2 inches smaller. (That translates to about 3 years less disability and 3 years more great sex.) All it takes, according to a new study, is moderate to vigorous exercise for 150 minutes a week -- 30 minutes a day, with 2 days off.

Not a Jock in Your Youth?
No worries if sports were never really your thing. Start now. After only 2 months of strength training (three 40-minute sessions a week, including warm-ups), women 65 to 75 years old can recover a decade of muscle loss and men can recover 2 decades.

Here's how to get started and stick to it:

  1. Find your true motivation. To stick with a plan, ask yourself why you want to get moving. To look better? Ease aches? Lose weight? Get stronger? Enjoy more years with the grandkids? 
  2. Start slow. You may be revved up to get moving fast, but overdoing it early invites strains and injuries that sap your goals.
  3. Match activities to your personality. Love parties and socializing? Sign up for Zumba classes. Like moving at your own pace but don't trust yourself to stick with it? Spring for a trainer, or schedule exercise dates with a friend or your grandchild. They'll love it!

Then, buy a full-length mirror to admire the results.

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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