According to WebMD, losing 0.2 to 0.4 pounds every year after 65 years of age is normal. However, this is the unintentional weight loss that occurs due to changes in your body. But what if you are still obese?
The population of people aged 65 years and more is expected to increase in the USA. They are expected to constitute 22% of the US population by 2050. Along with this trend of an increasingly aging population, there is also the trend of increasing obesity. According to a recent study published on the NCBI website, 35% of US residents aged 65 and over were obese.
Now, new research concludes that age has no impact on weight loss. Seniors can shed an equivalent amount of weight as young people. But biological changes in the body make it challenging for the elderly to shed weight.
For instance, metabolism slows down as you age, making it challenging to produce the energy required to do physical activities to reduce weight. Moreover, weak bones make moving around difficult, which adds to the increasing weight.
While obesity, in general, can lead to numerous health problems, it can be devastating for the elderly. Elders can face health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea and reduced life expectancy due to obesity. Hence, weight loss becomes vital when aging to increase longevity. There are many things you can do to reduce weight.
Start Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is switching between eating and fasting to reduce weight. Several studies show intermittent fasting can help with weight loss and other health benefits. While it is undoubtedly helpful to young adults, the question is, can seniors stick to intermittent fasting diets? And even if they do, is intermittent fasting beneficial to them in the first place? Well, it is.
A study was conducted to get conclusive evidence for the benefits of intermittent fasting for seniors. The study was done through a six-week fasting program to see the effect on women over 60 years. The study concluded that there was a decrease of 2kg in the weight of older women. However, there was not much decrease in muscle mass, meaning that fat mass was reduced. Hence, it is proven that intermittent fasting can be beneficial to you.
Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term, and many diet plans exist. You can go with any plan you like. However, if you are just starting and need some tried and tested ideas, it is best to look for some intermittent fasting for beginners plans. You can choose between alternate-day fasting, a 5:2 diet plan, a 16/8 diet or any other. Once you find the right plan you can stick to, you will soon see a difference in your weight.
Try a High-Protein, Low Calories Diet
Weight loss becomes complicated as people age. With increasing age, there is a need to preserve bone mass and reduce fat mass for longevity. A high-protein, low-calorie diet can help with that.
A recent study by Dr. Kristen M. Beavers and colleagues found excellent results of such a diet for losing weight among seniors. The study divided the participants into two groups, one consuming 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight and the other consuming less than 1 gram of protein. The results were that the group consuming a gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight was able to shed more fat mass than the other group.
You can add lean protein to your diet by eating fish, chicken, yogurt and egg whites. Lean proteins will ensure that you consume fewer calories. You can also add tuna, turkey or lentils to your diet.
Moving around helps burn fat. In fact, any physical activity you do can help with your weight loss goal. The CDC recommends elderly people do at least 2 and a half an hour of moderate activities like brisk walking weekly. Moreover, they should also do muscle-strengthening activities twice and balancing activities thrice a week.
However, instead of sitting or standing in a single place and doing exercise, it is best to move around and participate in fun activities. When done alongside standard exercises, moving around more often can offer better health benefits to older adults, according to a recent study.
You may take a walk in the nearby garden, plan a movie night, and walk to the movie theater. Alternatively, you can also go shopping or visit a farmer’s market. This will allow you to walk around while helping with family activities. These family activities and your engagement with them can further assist you in becoming more energetic.
Consider Water Aerobics
Joint pain, whether due to arthritis or some other reason, is one of the most painful parts of getting old. The joint pain also impacts the ability to do physical activities, leading to weight gain. This is where water aerobics comes into the picture.
Doing physical activities in warm water feels less painful and daunting than on land. Water provides the perfect environment for low-impact and low-weight-bearing exercises required for old-age weight loss. And although it feels less painful, water aerobics can lead to more weight loss than standard physical exercises.
The best part of water aerobics is that it is fun, unlike most other exercises you will do out of need, just to do some physical activities. You can also join a community that offers access to a pool for water aerobics. This will enable you to enjoy yourself with other older adults, making the process more fun.
Get Enough Rest and Sleep
Along with a good amount of physical activity, getting enough rest and sleep is essential. This is true for everyone, regardless of age, but getting enough rest and sleep is more important in old age as aging can impact your sleep. You might think that sleeping well will only give your body time to recover and prepare for the exercise for the next day. However, sleeping well can also help you reduce weight.
Sleep deprivation can make you overweight. A recent study analyzing the link between sleep deprivation and weight loss found that changes in sleep patterns in quantity or quality can impact your eating habits and metabolism. These changes can negatively impact your weight loss efforts. Hence, you must get enough rest and sleep.
You can reduce screen time before going to sleep, create a bedtime ritual or avoid drinking tea or coffee before going to bed to improve your sleep routine. These tips can help enhance your sleep quality and make weight loss easier.
There are many ways to lose weight as a senior. You can follow any or all of the tips mentioned in this article. You must pick what you can do and create a schedule accordingly. This will help you stick to the track and be on your way to reducing weight.