Why, oh why, are women – and often men as well – so prone to sprout a midriff bulge as they move into midlife?
Even super-svelte women like Liz Hurley find that the pounds pile on around the middle as they hit their forties.
One reason is that metabolism slows down with age, so even if your diet doesn’t change at all, your body uses the calories more slowly – and unless you get more active, you’ll put on weight. And in the middle years, life is often less hectic than it was before, as you’re no longer rushing around looking after a small family or forging a career.
Hormones have a role to play as well, and fluctuating levels can encourage fat to go on around the midriff. But menopause expert Dr Pamela Peeke, thinks that this is only a small part of the problem, accounting for a gain of around 2-5lb. If you’ve put on more than that, the solution lies in a healthy diet in menopause and more exercise.
How much exercise is enough?… we hear you asking anxiously…. The Journal of the American Medical Association reckons that it takes an hour a day of brisk exercise to keep the midriff bulge under control.
Ok…but what kind of exercise is best? The answer to that, is ‘a variety’. It’s important to do different types of aerobic exercise for the sake of your heart and circulation. There’s nothing like a good walk or a dance session to lift the blues as well. But for weight control, and to keep your tummy trim, you must use strength training exercises .
Building more muscle on your body during the menopausal years and beyond is crucial. Muscle burns energy, it gives your body strength, and makes you look more toned and slender. To do away with the flab, buy yourself a cheap set of weights and start using them – an hour a week is enough, and you can do that in bursts as short as 10 minutes a day.