There is a magic bullet, although it doesn't come in a bottle. Daily exercise literally suppresses the formation of fat and makes fat cells smaller, according to researchers who studied the mechanism in rats at the University of Missouri-Columbia. "Left on its own in nature," says researcher Frank Booth, "our body wants to store as much energy as possible because it doesn't know when the next meal will come." Exercise stops the process.
The study found a dramatic increase in the weight of stored fat and the size of fat cells after just two days of no exercise. On average, fat cells expanded by 19 percent, and the fat around the stomach increased in weight by 25 percent. In contrast, fat formation started being suppressed right after a bout of regular, daily exercise.
How to Do It
Aim to get at least thirty minutes of moderate exercise daily. On an average day, that could mean going for a brisk walk, doing an exercise routine at home while watching your favorite 30-minute TV show, or just doing some manual work around the house, like cleaning out the garage, mowing the lawn or washing windows. Breaking up the thirty minutes into two or three shorter segments doesn't lessen the benefits.
Of course, you can also join a health club and do a regular workout but even if you already do that, keep additional options in mind. Consider playing a sport you've always wanted to try or used to enjoy, like biking, skating, golf or tennis, or try something completely unfamiliar. As the old saying puts it, "Variety is the spice of life."