As men and women age, they generally reach a point where the habits that kept them slim in their 20’s and 30’s just don’t work anymore. Young adults may be able to simply avoid junk food for a few days and take a couple extra runs to get their weight back under control, but older adults must be more intentional about their health if they want to avoid weight gain. In this post we will give you some ideas on how to fight weight gain as you age.
Weight control is more difficult later in life because biological changes to our bodies mean that our muscle cells decrease as the fat cells increase. Our metabolic rate drops, and with it our ability to burn calories quickly disappears. Weight loss simply becomes more challenging, even if we continue any healthy habits developed as young adults.
The Necessity of Exercise
Since a sedentary lifestyle increases the problems of weight gain, exercise is a key component of a plan to prevent weight gain later in life. Regular, motivated exercise is essential to retaining muscle mass, which is important since loss of muscle mass makes room for more fat. Consider including some of the following elements in your workout routine:
Cardio exercise: the most important part of your exercise habits, cardio exercise helps to decrease your cholesterol. Try different types of cardio, like running, biking, or swimming. Set manageable goals to begin with and aim to build up your strength so that you can complete 20 to 30 minutes of cardio about 3 days a week.
Muscle development: create a weight lifting or resistance training routine that you perform regularly in order to maintain and heighten muscle mass. A personal trainer at the gym can be an invaluable resource for helping you get started as well as implementing new exercises occasionally to keep it interesting.
Gentler alternatives: if running or lifting weights is highly uncomfortable for your aging body, consider low-impact substitutes such as yoga or Pilates. These forms of exercise avoid some of the problems of typical cardio work while still encouraging muscle strength.
Focusing on exercise can’t be the only component of your regime to prevent weight gain as you age. Dietary choices have a huge impact on weight gain. Experts recommend establishing healthy habits in general that will help you to avoid bad practices. Kathleen Zelman offers a list of easy changes that will make an enormous difference in your health. As you get older, focus on choosing a diet that is low in fats, meats, oils, and calories, since all of these elements contribute to weight gain and other medical problems. Instead, make sure that you are emphasizing foods that are high in protein and fiber.