Want to Stay Lean As You Get Older? You’ll Need to Step up Your Exercise Routine.

Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

As you get older, fat can start creeping onto your waistline—if you don’t fight it with increased workouts. That’s probably not news. If you’re above a certain age and keep in touch with old high-school friends for Thanksgiving, you’ll notice plenty of people at your 20-year reunion who appear thicker and fatter.

But if you weren’t yet convinced that you should step up your exercising as you age, or just need some motivation to get to the gym tomorrow, check out this new study out of the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. Researchers looked at data from more than 1,000 adults enrolled in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study who either increased, maintained, or decreased their daily step count over the study period from 2007 to 2011.

They found that those who bumped up their step count by 2,000 maintained their BMI, but those who kept their activity at the same level or dropped off in their exercising increased their bodyweight.

“The steps accumulate on many instances during the day, if you give it a chance,” said study co-author Kasper Salin, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at the university. “One does not necessarily need to go for a walk every day to increase the daily step count. Instead, attention should be paid to choices in everyday life. Does every trip need to be made by car or could some of them be done by foot, or could the stairs be taken instead of the elevator?”

And if you’re looking for something a little tougher? Aim high with our Timeless workout program.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!