It is safe to say that the vast majority of people would rather not gain excessive body weight in the form of fat, regardless of age. While the underlying principles that prevent weight, gain remain true at every stage in life, there are changes that occur in the aging body that require small modifications to these principles.
Given that obesity predisposes the body to an enormous amount of health issues, as well as the already increased risk of various disorders in the older population, it is even more important to maintain a healthy body composition later on in life.
In this article, we are going to discuss five key concepts pertaining to effective weight management over the course of the aging process.
Maintain Muscle Mass
One of the more obvious changes that occurs during aging is a gradual loss in lean muscle mass. This process, known as sarcopenia, affects both men and women. Building and maintaining as much muscle mass as possible is beneficial for a number of reasons, especially in older adults.
With regards to weight management, muscle mass is able to directly mitigate increased adipose tissue (fat) in the body. Even at rest, lean muscle tissue has a very high caloric requirement. Simply put, muscle mass burns a significant number of calories even at rest. Therefore, an increase in lean muscle tissue leads to an increased number of calories burned each day, regardless of exercise.
Counteract The Effects Of A Slower Metabolism
Another byproduct of aging is a decreased metabolism. In the older population, the body is not as efficient at burning excess calories that are consumed. This leads to an increased likelihood of these extra calories being stored in the form of fat.
A simple solution for this occurrence is to simply reduce the number of calories consumed on a routine basis. It is important to adjust to a slower metabolism by not ingesting more calories than the body is able to utilize. However, this does not have to be a drastic change. A gradual decrease in caloric ingestion is an efficient way to avoid weight gain.
Avoid Becoming More Sedentary
As people get older, they tend to become less active and opt for a more sedentary lifestyle. There are many reasons this occurs, most of them stereotypical. It is important to realize that a lack of activity at any age predisposes an individual to gaining undesirable weight.
While there may been some adjustments to normal physical activity that may need to occur, it is only important that it does actually occur. An adequate amount of exercise throughout the aging process is essential to maintaining a healthy weight as well as maximizing quality of life in general.
Opt For More Satiating Foods
This principle is another example of a strategy that is applicable for weight management at any age. Given that consuming an excess number of calories is responsible for increased body fat, it makes sense that consuming fewer calories is necessary to prevent this from occurring. However, no one wants to be hungry throughout the entire day.
This is where specific food choices are important. There are some foods that while they contain a low caloric content, still allow an individual to feel full. This is a term known as satiation.
Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, as well as whole grains from healthy sources are great examples of highly satiating foods. Centering a dietary plan around these types of nutritional sources reduces the chance of consuming excess calories while still preventing unnecessary hunger.
Find Hobbies That You Enjoy
Going back to the idea of avoiding a more sedentary lifestyle throughout the aging process, it is important to find enjoyable hobbies and means of physical activity that are appropriate for a person’s specific abilities.
There are certainly a tremendous number of options for exercise that cater to any age group. Furthermore, actually enjoying whatever it is one chooses to do for exercise vastly increases the consistency with which the activity will be performed.