Losing Weight After 50
Losing weight is a goal for many people regardless of age. While young adults might be able to get away with a few extra pounds without suffering significant consequences, older adults carrying extra weight might be putting their overall health at considerable risk.
Shedding weight after the age of 50 is not always easy. As an adult ages, muscle mass tends to dwindle while body fat has a tendency to increase. Since fat burns fewer calories than muscle, weight gain as a person ages is bound to happen. But that doesn't mean such weight gain is inevitable. In fact, people willing to make certain changes with regard to diet and exercise can shed pounds after age 50, while preventing future weight gain.
Fewer calories are needed as they age. For example, adults in their 40s may need as many as 200 calories more per day than they will when they reach their 50s. Counting calories might seem difficult, so adults age 50 and older who don't think they can count calories, can try to eat more low-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Consuming fewer calories requires changing dietary habits. Adults used to dining out every day can start making their own meals to gain greater control of their daily caloric intake. For those who find they're frequently too exhausted to cook, preparing meals in advance to have healthy, homemade meals instead of ordering out is an option.
Exercise is another essential component to shedding pounds after 50, though one should always consult a physician before beginning a new exercise regimen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that regular exercise can help older adults prevent the onset of a host of ailments, including heart disease and diabetes. In addition, the CDC notes that regular physical activity as one ages helps muscles grow stronger, which increases the chance that an individual will be able to perform necessary daily activities without the assistance of others.
When coupled with a healthy, low-calorie diet, routine exercise can help adults over 50 shed extra weight and keep the weight off. According to the CDC, older adults need at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week and muscle-strengthening activities on two more days a week. These muscle-strengthening activities should work all the major muscle groups, including the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms. Muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights, working out with resistance bands, exercise such as push-ups and sit-ups that use body weight for resistance and yoga. Even gardening that involves digging and shoveling can be considered a muscle-strengthening activity.
Weight gain is often an expected side effect of aging. But adults don't have to gain weight as they get older. Some simple dietary changes and a commitment to routine exercise is all it takes to shed weight and keep that weight off once it's gone.