Learn here (i) Why weight changes as you get older, (ii) Why it’s important to maintain a healthy weight, (iii), And what you can do to keep a healthy weight?
Various factors affect your weight as you age, including your age, gender, genes, family habits, lifestyle, sleep, culture, and even where you live. While there are factors that are hard to control, there are many factors that you can follow to help maintain your body as healthy as possible as you get older.
Why Does Weight Change As You Get Older?
As you get older, the metabolism process – how your body absorbs & digests foods to get energy – slows down. Therefore, some older adults must get more active or eat fewer calories to achieve or keep their weight within the ideal range.
However, some other older adults may lose weight unintentionally. This can happen if one has a reduced appetite, difficulty going out to buy food, or pain when chewing or swallowing.
Don’t Ignore Sudden Weight Loss
Unintended, sudden weight loss can be an indication of serious medical problems like gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, and even some neurological diseases. If you or a loved one is losing weight speedily without trying to do so, check with your doctor to find out if there is a medical cause.
Why Should Older Adults Keep A Healthy Weight?
Maintaining your weight in the healthy range is an important strategy for healthy aging. Although, at any age, an elevated body mass index (BMI) increases the risk of developing various health problems, it becomes even riskier in the case of older adults. These health issues include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight can help lower these risks.
Being underweight also increases the chance of developing health issues. Those with a low BMI can be more likely to develop medical problems like anemia and osteoporosis. In addition, it may become harder to recover from an illness & even infection.
Are You At A Healthy Weight?
Healthy weight ranges for older adults are different than for other age groups. What number the weighing scale shows and even the online BMI calculator works out — only tells part of the story. For instance, an older adult with a normal weight may have more fat and less muscle than others who are slightly overweight. Always consult your doctor before trying to lose or gain weight.
How Are Diet, Exercise, & Calories Connected?
Choosing healthy foods & being active can help you achieve & maintain your weight within a healthy range, be more energetic, and reduce your risks of having other health problems. It’s important to eat foods rich in nutrients and aim for at least one hundred fifty minutes of physical activity a week.
The foods and drinks you consume are converted into energy (measured in calories) for your body’s calorie needs. Your body requires a certain number of calories every day, depending on your activity level and some other factors, to maintain your current weight.
Check MyPlate Plan to find out how many calories per day you require based on your physical activity level, sex, age, height, and weight. If your aim is to lose weight, you will need to exercise more or eat fewer calories than is recommended. And to gain weight, you will need to increase the number of calories you eat while doing a moderate activity level.
You can read on this link more about making smart food choices and find recommendations on how much to eat based on different activity levels.
What Should You Eat To Lose or Gain Weight?
Whether your aim is to lose or gain weight, eating healthy foods does matter. Make sure to follow a healthy eating pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. If you’re concerned about your weight and want to change it, there are certain things you can do.
Trying to lose weight?
- To control calorie intake, limit your portion size
- Be as physically active as you can.
- Swap out what you usually eat for healthier alternatives.
- Avoid sugary beverages. Stay hydrated with water.
- Set specific, realistic goals, like at least three 15-minute walks per day.
- If there’s a break in your exercise routine or healthy eating pattern, try to get back on track as quickly as possible.
Trying to gain weight?
- Eat more foods having healthy fats, like avocados and peanut butter.
- If you get full quickly, experiment with eating frequent, smaller meals throughout the day.
- Include nutrient-dense snacks like dried fruit, nuts, and cheese in your daily diet.
- Enjoy eating your food. Try eating with your family & friends to make it more enjoyable.
- Be active to improve your appetite.
If you have any doubts, consult a health care professional about making changes in a healthy way that’s right for you.
How much physical activity do I need?
Exercise and physical activity benefit just everyone, including senior people. Do moderate-intensity aerobic activity (working hard enough to elevate your heart rate and break a sweat) for at least 150 minutes every week. You don’t need to do this all at once. You can break up your total exercise activity over the course of seven days as you like. If you are not able to meet this goal right away, try to be physically active as much as you can. Doing something is better than doing nothing at all.
As we age, we lose muscle mass, which makes certain activities difficult for senior people. Staying physically active helps older adults retain muscle mass. This makes it easier to carry on daily activities, such as participating in outings, driving, keeping up with grandchildren, avoiding falls, and staying as independent as possible.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money hiring a personal trainer or joining a gym to get fit. Just do the kinds of physical activities that you enjoy, for instance, walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, gardening, and dancing. Even routine household jobs like vacuuming work as physical activity. As you start with exercise, try to remain motivated to move your body regularly. Then try to increase the length of time you exercise and/or add another fun activity. Check with your doctor before beginning a new or more vigorous exercise program.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”