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Format: 04/18/2014
Format: 04/18/2014

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KDKA-TV: Study: Women Need One Hour Of Exercise Daily

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Studies in men show they need less exercise than women to maintain body weight. So how much do women need?

A study in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" says it's a lot more than women typically squeeze in.

We asked some women walking downtown, if they had an hour a day, what would they do with it?

"Bubble bath, glass of wine, no children, no TV, just total quiet," says one.

"Spend it with my grandchild," says another.

"I would sleep. I think most women are tired. I can see it on their faces at work," says yet another.

If you want to maintain a normal weight, you should spend that hour exercising. Moderate-intensity exercise, at that: jogging, biking, aerobics, exercise machines, racquetball or swimming.

About 34,000 American women on no particular diet were surveyed over 13 years at average age 54 at the start of the study.

Only women who were normal weight to begin with who did 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day maintained their weight.

"I do have clients say there's no way," says YMCA trainer and manager Jenna Shingleton. "I think that's the most effective way to get the full hour in, is to break it up, to what's feasible for your day."

Average weight gain during the study for all women was almost six pounds.

The federal government recommends far less exercise -- 150 minutes a week, still a lot. For the average woman, an hour a day may not be realistic.

"When you're a mother with children, it's hard, and working full time," points out a woman walking downtown.

"It's great for your mood, your heart, your lungs, and I certainly think that any level of activity you can achieve is good," says Dr. Christine Mackey, an internist at Allegheny General Hospital.

"If you don't have a current exercise regimen, work towards an hour. Maybe start with 30 minutes, and add it to your day as you can," explains Shingleton.

The study did not look at housework or gardening. The study authors say if you can't manage an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity, you'll have to eat far fewer calories.

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