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Take a walk, you know it makes sense.

YOU can call it middle-age spread if you like. It's that time in your life when you look in the bathroom mirror of a morning and determinedly keep your eyes focused on your face.

You've usually stopped talking to your friends about cellulite because that was a 20s thing and now, well, you've plenty of good reasons not to be exercising regularly.

If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Parents are under pressure. If you are not at work you tend to be rushing home, and if you're at home there are the children to keep amused and the house to keep in reasonable shape. Entertaining friends will come into the equation as well as - if you're lucky - the occasional night out. Modern life is about priorities, and the trouble is that even if parents were once enthusiastic about sport and exercise they either don't have the time, money or energy to participate regularly so there is a tendency to bow to what seems like the inevitable and accept that over time the pounds will encroach on our body shapes. The Sports Council for Wales has at last recognised this phenomenon and has decided to try to shake the middle-agers out of their exercise somnolence. It is particularly aiming its efforts at women because they are more likely to have turned their backs on sport than men.

New figures suggest that more than half of Welsh women are losing their battle with the bulge. A third are overweight and have a waistline of between 32 and 35 inches and one in five are obese and face long-term health problems.

Many women will argue back that they know they put their health at risk by not exercising - ``it's common sense'' - but there isn't a spare 30 minutes in their day to take the Government's recommendation dose of exercise. Maybe there isn't, but the Sports Council is right to try to persuade them. It is also right to make the point that we don't all have to be like Colin Jackson or Paula Radcliffe to benefit from a little exercise.

Exercise helps you keep up with your children. Better still is a little exercise as a family: a 30-minute walk or a bike ride together does everyone a world of good. So let's get out there while the sun shines.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 3, 2003
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