| GEO Health|
| Women need brisk walk to rein in weight|
| Updated at: 1451 PST, Tuesday, June 29, 2010|
WASHINGTON: Women who want to prevent weight gain as they age, should hop on a bike or take a brisk walk, a new study shows.
The findings add to mounting evidence of the importance of moderate to vigorous exercise for weight control.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston analyzed data on more than 18,000 premenopausal women in the Nurses Health Study, an ongoing research project that began in 1989.
The women completed questionnaires on their medical, exercise and living habits.
According to findings from the study, reported in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine, the women overall gained an average of 20½ pounds over 16 years. But those who regularly biked or walked briskly were less likely to gain as much.
"This research shows that both brisk walking and biking can help prevent weight gain," says Anne Lusk, a research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health. But slow walking doesn't keep weight in check, she says. Women need to step it up — or bike, which may be more comfortable for them, she says. Other research shows that men benefit, too, from those types of exercise, she says.
Anne McTiernan, director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research in Seattle, has shown in her research that women who do exercise such as walking or biking for two to four hours a week during weight-loss efforts lose an extra 3 to 5 pounds over a year.