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Study Looks At Keys To Weight Loss As Women Age

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A new study looked at the key to faster, more efficient weight loss for women.

As it turns out, it's harder to get rid of fat as you age.

"As we age, we're sort of set in our routine and our habits, and I think it's harder to implement new change as we age. And then there are the biological factors that our metabolism slows down every year that we age," Nicole Trombley, of Pillar Wellness, said.

It may be the amount of exercise you're getting isn't enough.

"Most of the barriers to losing weight and exercising are time, stress, other commitments," Lauren Cerqua, a physical therapist as St. Clair Hospital, said.

A study in "JAMA Oncology" showed that post-menopausal women who exercised 300 minutes per week are better at reducing total fat during a one-year clinical trial.

"I was pretty impressed by those women who were able to make it through the study," Cerqua said.

The participants were 400 inactive post-menopausal women. The women had a body mass index of 22 to 40, and were asked not to change their diet. Any aerobic activity that raised the heart rate 65 to 75 percent counted, and mostly this was walking, cycling, running, or using an elliptical. Half exercised 150 minutes a week. The other half exercised 300 minutes a week.

"To be able to work five days a week at an hour at a vigorous or moderate intensity is a lot of exercise. A lot of time goes into that, a lot of education on making sure their heart rates reach the right levels," Cerqua said.

The 300-minute group lost 1 percent body fat more than the 150-minute group. That is, nearly eight pounds, compared to 5.5 pounds.

"To only really reduce an extra 2.2 pounds, or an extra 1 percent in body fat was a huge amount of increased exercise for a smaller amount of results," Cerqua said.

The results may have been different with diet and strength training.

"Had the nutritional aspect been addressed, I think that change would have been a little more dramatic," Trombley said.

"Building of the muscle will reduce the overall fat levels as well, maybe at a faster rate. Maybe at less minutes per week," Cerqua said.

Previous research points to 150 minutes as the minimum amount of exercise to reduce breast cancer risk in this age group.

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