S u m m a r y :
If you’ve nearing middle age—say, if you’re over 35 years old—you might want to increase your physical activity, says a new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
More Years, More Kilos
Age comes with a number of unwanted ramifications, and extra weight features among the first ones on the list. New research from the University of Jyväskylä involving people of the age group 34 to 49 shows that middle age is associated with increased body mass index (BMI). If you want to reverse this trend, you will have to step up your workout regimen.
Tracking Daily Step Count
The participants of the study were grouped into different categories as per the total number of steps they made on a daily basis, and they were followed for a period of four years. It was found that around half of them would either increase or decrease their number of steps while the rest would keep it constant; the groups were named increasers, decreasers, and maintainers. Then, this data was compared with their BMI.
More Steps, Constant BMI
The findings show that women, generally, were increasers: their daily step count rose to a significant degree.
Overall, 25% of the participants increased by more than 2,000 steps over the 4-year follow-up, and another group increased by 1,000 steps; on the other hand, 19% decreased their step count. The others kept their daily aerobic steps the same.
Those who upped their game appear to be at an advantage as the results show that those whose total count increased by more than 2,000 steps were able to maintain their BMI at the same level during the 4 years.
As for those who decreased or maintained their usual step count, they had increased BMI, a trend seen in both sexes.
More Years, More Physical Activity
The study has a positive aspect in terms of physical exercise: author Mirja Hirvensalo explains that their results demonstrate an increase in physical activity with age while other research works point at a general decrease as one gets older.
How to Have More Steps?
How does one go about one’s daily schedule to cater for an increasing step count? Co-author Kasper Salin explains that the steps can be made to build up during the day, and that one does not need to go for walks everyday to achieve this. Rather, people should pay attention to their choices: walking instead of taking the car; taking the stairs instead of the elevator.