Complete Guide to Weight Loss for Seniors

Elderly riding bikes

As you get older, it becomes more and more important to
maintain a healthy weight. While being overweight is unhealthy at any age, it
can be especially troublesome for the senior population. According to Live Science, carrying extra pounds can
increase your risks for certain cancers and makes you more susceptible to
cardiovascular disease and injuries caused by falls. However, losing weight can
be tricky for the older population, who might not be able to perform popular
exercises or go on restrictive diets. To help maximize your weight loss while
also remaining healthy, follow this complete short guide to weight loss for seniors:

 

Don’t lose weight too
quickly

 

Though it might seem great to watch the number on the scale
drop quickly, losing weight too quickly can have some health risks, especially if you’re older. Your
body can only physically break down so much fat each day, so if you’re over
exercising, your body will start getting rid of muscle instead. This can be
especially troublesome for older women who might not have much muscles mass to
begin with. Cutting calories too quickly can also cause nutritional
deficiencies and a drop in metabolism, which can cause your body to hold
on to extra weight in the future. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight but found
that you stopped making progress after the first month, this was likely the
cause.

 

So, how much weight should you aim to lose? Generally, losing
between 1-2 pounds a week is a healthy rate. This prevents your body from
sacrificing muscle mass, and can even cause your body to replace the lost fat
with extra muscle.

 

Add moderate exercise

 

According to the CDC, older adults need at least two and a half
hours of moderate aerobic exercise a week and two or more days a week where all
the major muscle groups are exercised. If you want to lose weight, however, you
should add extra exercise time into your daily routine. This can be done quite
easily by going on a walk each morning and doing some simple resistance
training two or three times a week. While it might be tempting to only do
aerobic exercise, weight-based exercise can add tremendous benefits. Resistance training or
lifting weights can help you retain and build more muscle mass, which causes
you to burn more calories while stationary, sleep better, and even live longer.
Having more muscle mass can also protect your bones and boost your ability to
balance, which are both important for the older population. Having a home gym where you can do aerobic and
weight-training exercises can help you work out more regularly in order to gain
all of these health benefits.

 

Hydrate, and then
hydrate some more

 

Often, thirst can manifest itself as hunger. By keeping
yourself hydrated, you can avoid a mistaken hunger cue,
which can keep you from overeating. Staying hydrated can also boost your
metabolism, because your body must constantly use calories to heat up all the
fluids you are drinking. In other words, by keeping yourself hydrated with cool
water, you’re also causing your body to burn more calories, even while you’re
sitting on the couch. Plus, staying hydrated also makes it easier for your heart to pump blood through your whole body.

 

Don’t go on a
restrictive diet

 

While it might seem like a good idea to go on a restrictive diet like you did when you were 25
to lose weight, this can do more harm than good. Restrictive diets are not the
key to sustainable weight loss. If you can’t keep
your diet for the rest of your life, it isn’t working. Instead, focus on eating
2,000 calories a day in high-quality, nutritional foods. Your goal is to
re-train yourself to eat healthy foods and portion sizes, not restrict your
calories to help you shed the pounds.

 

Losing weight when you’re older might seem complicated, but it
doesn’t have to be. Losing weight is all about re-training yourself to live an
active lifestyle and eat appropriately. By following this guide, you’ll be
losing weight in a healthy way in no time.

 

Author:  Kevin Wells of  seniordiabetic.com

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