Healthy Weight Management Tips For Seniors

Obesity is a major epidemic in the Unites States and in other countries around the world. In fact, 1/3 of US adults and 18% of kids and adolescents are obese and at risk for serious health complications! Health issues such as, Type 2 diabetes, joint problems, heart disease and more. All of which can lead to premature death.

In addition to the serious personal health consequences, obesity has a substantial economic impact that larger populations as a whole. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related conditions is currently in the range of 150-200 billion dollars. This equates to almost 25% of all annual medical spending in the United States. The numbers only continue to rise year after year.

Healthy Weight Management Tips For Seniors

Like anyone else, the senior and aging population needs to address healthy weight management and to be aware how weight gain can cause problems for their health. But, seniors can be even more vulnerable because as we age our metabolism slows and weight gain becomes that much more of an issue.

Loss Of Lean Muscle Mass

Have you ever watched a teenager gorge on plate after plate of food and not gain an ounce? A lot of this is due to a higher metabolic rate in our younger years.

Did you know that as we age, our metabolism begins to slow down?

While genetics help determine our overall metabolic performance, having sufficient amounts of lean muscle mass greatly determines metabolism as well. Because muscle burns more calories per hour than fat, and this signifies that those who have lean and muscular bodies are able to burn more fat. This occurs even when they are at rest! Amazing, isn’t it?

Our overall muscle mass decreases as we age. This slows metabolism by approximately 2% to 8% per decade. This can be counteracted by performing simple strength training exercises with the use of free weights or weight machines.

Ideally strength training should take place early in life, but especially as we head into our 40s and 50s. Consequently, when you maintain lean muscle mass, metabolism is not likely to decrease as much as you age.

Seniors, especially, are more likely to gain weight as their metabolism slows down. Slowed metabolism can lead to obesity and the serious health concerns related to it as mentioned above.

Weight Gain

Lack of activity is the number one cause of weight gain even when we continue to eat as we have our whole lives. This is due to a decrease in metabolism. As our metabolism decreases, so does our body’s ability to burn calories. If we keep eating the same amount of food our bodies will start to turn the excess calories into fat. The more overweight we get the less active we become. This in turn leads to more weight gain. This precise cycle should be recognized and remedied for greater health!

Weight Management For Seniors

The Solution

The solution to reversing and preventing obesity is a combination of diet and exercise. A good diet will cut the number calories that you are being assimilated. Exercise will burn off the calories that you ingest. Each tactic will eliminate some of these excess calories. Together they will eliminate a significant number of calories.

Finding a balance between diet and exercise is the best way to get rid of unwanted weight.

The basic formula is “calories in and calories out” or burn more than you take in.

Diet

To lose weight we also need to change the way we eat. As we mature, our bodies begin to secrete fewer digestive enzymes. This changes how our bodies breakdown and absorb nutrients.

Avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat. Fat contains more calories and can lead to high LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Enjoy small portions of food more often. The body really only needs about 300-400 calories in one sitting. Any more than that is turned into fat stores. Eating smaller portions will definitely help with weight loss.

Plan to eat more plant based foods, like fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals that the body needs, which, makes them quality calorie foods.

Eat more fiber. Fiber is filling and low in calories. Fiber also aids in digestion. Kale is a super plant food filled with fiber and other essential nutrients. It is very filling and can be eaten raw or slightly sautéed. There are many great plant foods that are filled with fiber, including, broccoli that can be a great weapon in the weight loss arsenal.

Drink more water. Many times thirst feels like hunger. Try this simple change today!

Also, drinking icy cold water helps to burn a little more calories as the body needs to warm it as it passes through.

Exercise

Exercise will help you to lose weight by increasing your muscle mass and speeding up your metabolism.

There are many other practical benefits to being active aside from weight loss and building lean muscle mass. Some of these include, increased stamina, endurance, balance, vitality and agility. Benefits which are helpful in the senior years.

The best exercises for weight loss are aerobic workouts and resistance training.

happy healthy senior

Aerobic Exercise

An aerobic workout exercises the heart and the cardiovascular system. Simply stated, when our heart beats faster the body burns more calories. The longer you keep your heart rate up the more calories you will burn.

An aerobic workout strengthens the heart and it increase blood flow to the entire body. This provides the body with a rush of nutrients and energy that causes the body to burn calories while working out and also while at rest.

It is recommended that you do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day at least 3 days per week. A more effective plan is to get aerobic exercise 5 times weekly.

Aerobic activity includes: Biking, jogging, walking, elliptical trainers, various fitness classes, just to name a few.

Resistance Training

Resistance training targets the muscle groups directly. Weight (Resistance) training is used to increase muscle mass and has a longer effect on burning calories than aerobics. By increasing muscle mass we are also increasing our metabolism. This means that our bodies are burning more calories all day and night! Not just during a particular workout!

It is recommended that resistance training should consist of 8 to 10 varied exercises. Each exercise should consist of 8 to 12 repetitions. Work until the muscles are fatigued. Remember, don’t strain yourself. Start at a program today, even if it consists of working 3 or 4 muscle groups. You’ll feel much better within a few weeks.

These are simple tips that anyone can follow for healthy weight management and an incredible overall health boost at any age. Especially in senior years when the effects of time on our bodies need to be addressed in a logical & systematic way!

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