Seniors and older adults need to increase their physical activity with each passing year. Our focus as we age should be on maintaining a stable weight and ensuring that our weight doesn’t increase. Increases in weight can lead to a risk of heart failure in the long term. The best way to maintain physical activity is to combine walking with strength and balance training while increasing our flexibility.
What are the risks of weight gain as we age?
- High blood pressure and heart disease
- Sleep apnea
- Breast cancer in women who gain 20 lbs or more from the age of 18 to midlife
As we get older, we do tend to gain weight. Some of this is due to hormonal changes in both men and women. We also lose muscle mass as we age, leading to a lower metabolic rate. This means that when we aren’t moving, our body tends to burn fewer calories.
Other reasons for weight gain as we grow older are:
- In general we tend to be less active. Fewer of us spend time engaged in sports activities and our jobs may also be more sedentary.
- High stress levels lead to food cravings. This means instead of reaching for a healthy snack we go for the junk food. Not getting enough sleep can also lead to the same type of cravings.
- Our lifestyle changes. We may be busy with our jobs and children, putting exercise on the backburner.
Keeping our weight where it should be is done by combining a number of things. Try to eat a healthier diet. Don’t just move more, pick up those weights. Try the ankle weights while walking. Yoga will help you with balance and flexibility. To read more on middle age spread, click here.