Five Weight Management Tips for Seniors
Weight management tips for seniors is a game of balance. Whereas weight loss is generally associated with a wide range of benefits such as better cardiovascular health, reduced orthopedic problems and improved mental health, seniors have to be a little more cautious.
In older age, weight loss can lead to frailty, disease, muscle loss and bone fragility. In addition, older persons are more likely to accumulate fat and not muscle if they start to gain weight again. Nevertheless, if done correctly, seniors can benefit from weight loss thanks to reduced stress on joints, better endurance and improved walking ability. The following tips can help.
Follow a Senior-Specific Program
Weight-loss techniques that would be normal and harmless for the average person can be risky for the elderly. Working with a personal trainer knowledgeable in best practice exercises for older persons will ensure you are on the right path. The program combines low intensity physical exercises with an appropriate diet.
To avoid losing too much bone mass and muscle due to physical exercise, seniors should ensure their diets are rich in protein, vitamin D and calcium. A 2015 study by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences looked at how four different diet plans affected muscle health for 20 healthy individuals aged between 52 and 75. It showed that the subjects accumulated muscle best when they consumed 1.5 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day.
Once past middle age, the older a person gets, the less calories their body needs. For every decade, they need 100 fewer calories per day to avoid gaining weight. Yet, many people will continue with the same diet they had in their 30s and 40s well into their 50s and 60s without due regard for their decreased physical activity and lost muscle mass.
Portion control can help. For instance, reduce your ice cream scoops from two to one, eat off a smaller plate, or replace fries with steamed vegetables. These changes may appear small but the results will be evident in just weeks.
General physical exercise guidelines suggest the average adult should get their heart rate up for at least two and a half hours each week and do a muscle-building resistance routine twice a week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 8 percent of seniors aged over 70 adhere to this routine.
Exercise, and especially resistance training, is particularly important for older persons to keep bones and muscles healthy. Fortunately, many community centers, gyms and online forums have a wealth of information on how older citizens can be physically active and improve their quality of life. For example, doing pushups on alternate days has been shown to ward off back pain.
Patience and Consistency
Regular exercise and sticking to a healthy diet isn’t easy since the results will not be evident overnight. Exercise is exhausting and monotonous while healthy diets can be boring. It takes patience, consistency and a will to succeed. The good thing is that getting into a healthy routine is most difficult at the onset; once you’ve gotten into the rhythm, it becomes an integral, near effortless part of your lifestyle.
Two in three Americans is overweight or obese; persons aged 64 and above are no exception. Whereas obesity rates decline significantly from age 75, a growing number of seniors remain vulnerable to weight gain due to slowing metabolism, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and habits that make it difficult to shed those extra pounds.
As we grow older, our habits change and so must the things we do to stay healthy. While the best health insurance for seniors is vital, it must be complemented by the right lifestyle. Weight management reduces the risk (or delays the onset) of serious age-related diseases. By adopting positive healthy habits in our daily routine, optimal weight becomes an achievable goal.