Obesity rates continue to be a growing problem in most countries. It is a health issue that is prevalent not just among kids, teens, and adults, but even in people over 60 years of age – the elderly. In the US, there has been a steady increase in obesity rates among seniors in the past years.
Providers of home nursing services say that obesity, especially in people at advanced ages, can cause various serious health complications and diseases. These include hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, urinary incontinence, and several kinds of cancers.
If you’re over 60 and want to shed some extra pounds, and maintain the right weight for health reasons, here are some safe and effective tips and techniques that will help you to do so:
Focus on losing fats, not weight
Weight loss and fat loss are directly connected. After all, if you lose fat, it is highly likely that you are also losing weight. And when you lose some weight, it also means you also lose some fat in the process.
But if you’re over 60, you should prioritize losing fat instead of the extra pounds. This is because as you age, you should avoid losing more organ tissues or bone mass since your body would be more susceptible to normal wear and tear and the injuries they can cause.
As such, instead of losing weight, which can also mean accidentally getting rid of the important nutrients in the body, focus on letting fats out of your body. One way to do this is to avoid eating fatty foods, especially those which contain too much saturated or hydrogenated oil.
Be physically active
To keep your bones and muscles healthy and strong, you need to exercise regularly. If you used to have a sedentary lifestyle, start small to avoid injuries and burnouts. It is also best to choose a workout program you can stick with so that you will get the exercise you need every week.
At your age, working out doesn’t mean joining marathons every few months or so. Small changes, such as walking 30 minutes a day or joining a low-impact aerobics class at the local gym or senior center, can lead to big health rewards. You can also start doing more physical activities that you like such as walking, jogging, swimming, or dancing.
Strengthening your muscles is also something that you have to focus on to avoid losing more muscle as you age. As such, aside from aerobic activities, make sure you prioritize muscle-strengthening activities as well.
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is a good tip for anyone who wants to lose weight, but it is also a particularly important one for seniors. Water helps the digestive system and metabolism function properly. There will be instances wherein you feel thirsty and mistake that thirst for hunger, and as a result, eat more than you should. Overeating is detrimental to your weight loss goal and is something you can easily avoid by simply drinking more water.
In general, people who are 60 years old and above have a desensitized hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls hunger and thirst), and as such, have dull thirst signals. Because of this, they tend to drink water less often. If you also have this problem, set an alarm on your phone at regular intervals so that you won’t forget to sip water throughout the day. If you have a private or home nurse, make sure he or she reminds you to take frequent sips of water every hour or so whether you’re working out or not.
Have a protein-rich diet
Dietitians recommend that seniors get around 30 grams of lean protein at every meal. This is because studies show that an increase in intake of lean protein can help older adults build and repair muscle. This, in turn, can counteract age-related muscle loss.
Lean protein is also more satiating than carbs and fats and as such, you’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks whether you feel hungry or not.
Change your mindset
Lastly, if you really want to maintain a healthy weight, you need to stop believing certain fallacies such as “Gaining weight is part of the aging process.” Everybody can and should lose weight if it is bordering on obesity regardless of age. There are various safe, healthy, and effective ways of doing this, so anyone can accomplish this.
To avoid slipping into a mindset that will prevent you from losing weight, start by finding a group of people such as your friends who want to get fit and stay that way. You can join or form a walking group or even get a friend or a neighbor to swim with you so that you won’t feel lonely while working on your weight goals.
For older adults, the most basic yet effective rule in weight loss is to keep it simple. This means having a healthier, well-balanced diet and exercising regularly. And, ff you’re considering additional help, be sure to do your research before using dietary supplements. By following these above tips, you will be able to maintain the right weight and enjoy better overall health.
Ibrahim Khader founded Angels of Medical Care in 2010. The name “Angels” was chosen because of his belief that nurses are angels of healing and care with the blessings of the creator. The company has flourished and is now one of the best, most renowned home care companies in Dubai.