As we age, it’s common to become less active, our metabolism slows down and we have a more difficult time keeping the weight off. It is essential to maintain a healthy weight as a senior to remain independent for as long as possible. Losing weight as a senior doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, there are a lot of health programs tailored for seniors, Silver Sneakers is a popular one. A quick google search of your community should reveal programs in the area. Exercise, mindfulness, and diet are the key to reducing and reversing the top three mortalities of our nation. For seniors doing their own weight loss without any programs, we salute you, and we’ve put together a list of 5 key factors to keep in mind to make it a little easier.
1. Lower your intake of carbs and sugars.
Diabetes is one of the biggest health issues we face in America. Diabetes affects how our bodies process sugars from the food we eat, making it difficult, which results in high blood sugar. Recent studies have linked sugar and carbs as a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, another study eliminated sugars and carbs which reduced size and progression of two types of Cancer. Seniors are prone to have higher blood sugar levels due to insulin resistance. By reducing carbohydrates we also reduce our blood sugar, which makes it easier to maintain weight and remain healthy.
2. Manage stress with a restorative practice.
Stress pushes people to over-eating, and it’s typically foods high in fat, sugar, or both. This is because of a hormone that stress releases called cortisol, which increases appetite and overtime results in weight gain. Having a restorative practice like yoga, meditation, or a walk in nature is a good way to counter this stress. These types of practices help people to gain impulse control.
3. Practice portion-control.
It’s easy to eat larger portions in our younger years, our metabolism is high and we’re more active. The problem is when we continue to eat the same amount as an aging adult without noticing we’re not as active as we used to be and with reduced muscle mass. Pay attention to how much food you eat and ask yourself if it’s the right amount for your activity level.
4. Stay active daily.
This is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself as a senior. Regular physical activity is important to maintain abilities in older adults. Staying active may be hard for seniors that deal with arthritis, have had surgery, or are dealing with other health issues, however, that doesn’t mean they can’t still practice low-impact activities daily (after getting clearance from a doctor first). It’s important to find activities that will get your heart rate up, but also include strength training, balance and flexibility in the mix. These four areas will help seniors remain healthy and independent. How much exercise you do in each area is unique to your personal situation, it’s best to consult with a physician to set up a plan if you are uncertain where to start.
5. Get enough sleep.
Sleep is associated with a surprising amount of health benefits, including weight loss. Sleep produces the human growth hormone (HGH); in healthy adults this helps to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. We have more energy when we receive good quality sleep and can use that stored energy to stay active. When sleep deprived, we are more likely to make poor health decisions the next day, for example, skipping our workouts or consuming unhealthy, convenient foods. Sleep is a vital component not just for weight loss, but every person’s overall health and well-being.