Excess Body Fat

Carrying excess body fat– especially around your midsection— puts you at risk for some serious health problems. Having an elevated body mass index (BMI) makes a person susceptible to diseases and conditions including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, sleep apnea, stroke, and even certain types of cancer. Being overweight also puts you at a higher risk of premature death with that risk increasing with each extra pound you gain.

When you are age 60 or above, you want to address any excess body fat you may have in order to reduce your chances of illnesses or complications associated with it. Unfortunately, it can be more difficult to lose weight when we are older. Not only do our metabolisms slow down, but we also lose muscle mass and in some cases suffer from mobility impairment. If you are a senior and thinking about losing weight, take these tips into account in order to do so in a manner that is both safe and healthy.

Weight Loss at 60+

Any time you see or hear diet and exercise advice, there is generally a disclaimer that you should consult your physician before following it. Talking to your doctor about your weight loss plans is not an option when you are 60 or older. You have to do it. Cutting out foods and trying new exercises may seem harmful, but you never know what might conflict with and existing condition or medication you may be on.

When you talk to your doctor, ask him about the following advice and whether or not he recommends incorporating it into your weight loss regimen.

  • Try swimming. If you have bad joints or muscle pain, swimming is an effective aerobic exercise that does not put excess pressure on the body. It’s fun, it’s relatively easy, and 30 minutes spent in the pool is the equivalent of 45 minutes of exercise on land Check your community center or local health club to see if there are swim classes especially tailored to a senior’s needs.
  • Lift weights. By the time you are age 50, you have 20 percent less muscle mass than you did when you were 20– and unfortunately it only goes down from there. Lifting weights can help regain some of the muscle mass you lost while also improving bone density to help reverse symptoms of osteoporosis. You don’t need to be a powerlifting champ– check out this simple tutorial you can do at home with a couple of light dumbbells.
  • Eat protein. If you want to rebuild a house, you have to have bricks. If your muscles are a house, foods full of protein are what you need to rebuild it. A diet full of lean beef, chicken, fish, lamb, lentils, and other sources of protein won’t just help you build muscle you’ve lost with age, a high-protein diet also helps you feel fuller so you end up losing weight easier. So stock up on steaks next time you are at the market!
  • Think positive. About two million people over the age of 65 suffer from depression. Among the symptoms of depression includes a lack of motivation to take care of oneself by exercising and trying to lose weight. The funny thing is, the things we do to lose weight such as exercising and eating well can actually help relieve symptoms of depression. If you believe your lack of motivation to lose weight and exercise are related to depression, talk to your doctor about your concerns and treatments that are available to you.

Excess body fat puts you at risk for various diseases and health conditions that can lead to premature death. People age 60 and older can especially benefit from weight loss. If you are a senior, be sure to talk to your doctor about your weight loss goals and whether things such as swimming, weight lifting, and a high protein diet are smart options for you.


Special guest post by Hazel Bridges


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