60 Minutes of Exercise a Day? Just to Stay Even?
[Via – Consumer Reports]
Numbers run my life. You know what I mean. Deadlines, play dates, practice schedules, birthdays, dinnertime, calories, levels of vitamin D, grams of fiber. I’ve got PIN numbers, phone numbers, key codes, and passwords. But two numbers are looming over them all right now: 40 and 60.
Why 40? Because this year I hit the big 4-0. On the one hand, it’s kind of comforting when someone tells me 40 is “middle-aged”–I’ve still got at least half of my life left, right? On the other hand, there is the impending sense that once I hit this landmark, everything will start to go. The memory. The neck. The energy. Even my behind.
This nagging sense of the beginning of the end is not helped by the other number: 60. That number comes directly from a study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association. More than 34,000 healthy, middle-age women (average age 54) were tracked from 1992 to 2007. The Harvard researchers involved in this study found that the only women who did not gain a significant amount of weight during that time had averaged about 60 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise.
Sixty minutes. And that’s not to lose weight—that’s to keep from gaining weight. Just to stay even. In some ways, I think I’m more likely to scale Mount Everest than I am to squeeze out 60 minutes from my day for exercise. My typical day is so overscheduled I’ve even found ways to multitask in the shower (it’s a great place to compose grocery lists and review practice schedules). The idea of trying to find time for more exercise is just too daunting.