As we grow older, it’s natural for our metabolisms to begin to slow down. This is because while our body fat increases, our muscle mass decreases- and this can start as early as your 20s! Add that to the fact that it gets harder to burn calories the older we get, and it’s no wonder over 35% of adults age 60 or older are obese. Sadly, that number is expected only to rise as more of the Baby Boomer generation enters their senior years.
However, major weight gain is certainly not part of the normal aging process by any means. Seniors who are not taking part in healthy weight management could be putting their health at risk, because maintaining a healthy weight is vital to overall healthy aging. Properly maintaining your weight should be a goal you strive for throughout your life. As you age, you should try to follow the same healthy lifestyle as you did when you were younger.
Maintaining a regular exercise routine is the first step in proper weight management. Exercise will burn those calories, as well as help you build and maintain muscle mass. Seniors can participate in a variety of exercises, everything from aerobic exercises like walking, biking and swimming, to strength training exercises with light weights or resistance bands, and stretching and flexibility exercises to warm up and cool down your muscles.
Seniors are encouraged to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Start off slow, in ten minute increments, and work your way up to longer stretches of time as you become more able.
Along with daily physical activity, the next step is to pay attention to your diet. Talk to your doctor about how many calories you should consume each day. For example, the average woman age 50 or older who are moderately active need about 1,600 to 1,800 calories per day. Several factors can affect your needs, like the amount of exercise you get, your current muscle mass and even genetics. However, cutting down too many calories can cause you to become fatigued and can play a part in slowing down your metabolism even further.
Choose healthy foods like fruits and veggies over sugary or salty snacks, whole grains over white flour, incorporate lean proteins and get an adequate amount of calcium to have more energy and help you stay active. It’s also vital that you’re staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day; seniors can be more susceptible to dehydration because your sense of thirst can tend to diminish as you age.
It’s also important to remember that as you begin your healthy weight management routine, the main goal is to become healthier and stay fit, not necessarily to drop a large amount of weight all at once.
At Lourdes-Noreen McKeen in beautiful West Palm Beach, Florida, we are a vibrant, active retirement community where residents are encouraged to stay strong and active. We offer a variety of innovative wellness programs based on the individual’s needs, and our highly trained staff will make sure you are safe, healthy and happy as you take part in regular workouts designed just for you.
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