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Is Losing Weight After 60 Possible?
As you get older, the burden of excess weight grows greater. Carrying too much weight puts strain on your joints, upsets your balance, and makes it harder to accomplish the tasks of daily living. It could also threaten your longevity, as being overweight or obese increases the risk of many serious health conditions.
You might feel like it’s too late to make a change, but that’s not true! Natural Nutrition Company explains how losing weight and creating a healthier future at any age is possible.
Weight loss after 60 is possible and does require some special considerations. Due to seniors’ unique nutritional needs, it’s not enough to simply cut calories. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, older adults must take special care to consume enough calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, potassium, and fiber.
These nutrients help regulate the digestive system, protect heart health, and maintain bone density in old age. Because they’re found primarily in fruits, vegetables, beans, certain meats and seafood, and fortified foods, older adults should build their diets around whole foods to maximize nutritional intake.
Getting enough nutrients without exceeding the daily calorie allowance can be challenging for seniors. Because muscle mass tends to decrease with age, older adults generally require fewer calories than they did when they were younger. By choosing nutritionally dense foods but calorically light — fresh fruits and vegetables — seniors can get the most value out of every calorie they consume.
Stress can make it more difficult to lose weight, which calls for ensuring your home environment supports your efforts.
This can be as simple as decluttering and cleaning. Undue stress often leads to poor choices in what we eat, so avoid overconsumption of simple carbohydrates like pastries, white bread, and refined grains, as they tend to be high in calories without offering much nutrition.
Avoiding simple carbohydrates also helps older adults regulate their blood sugar; a glycemic index is a helpful tool for distinguishing “good” carbohydrates from “bad” carbohydrates.
Why Muscle Mass Matters
If you’re eating at a caloric deficit and struggling with feelings of hunger, ask yourself if increasing muscle mass could help. Lean muscle mass is directly tied to metabolism:
People with lean muscle have higher metabolisms and can consume more calories without gaining weight, while people with less muscle mass have a slower metabolism and lower caloric needs.
However, increasing the food you can eat isn’t the only reason to build strength late in life.
According to CNN, age-related muscle loss, also known as sarcopenia, is a leading contributor to frailty among the elderly.
Older adults with muscle loss are more likely to suffer a fall and fracture a bone when they fall. Muscle loss also impacts seniors’ ability to carry out activities of daily living.
The good news? Research has shown that muscle gain is possible at any age, even in your 90s.
Progressive Strength Training
Like in younger adults, consistent and progressive strength training is the key to building muscle in old age and losing weight after 60. Men and women benefit from strength training in weight-lifting, bodyweight fitness, or other weight-bearing exercise.
Whether at the gym or working out at home, staying motivated is important, and listening to your favorite tunes is a great way to keep it up. Wearing earbuds allows you to work up a sweat with music without disturbing those around you.
Just remember that seniors who haven’t exercised for years or have a heart condition should talk to their doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
Because muscle weighs more than fat, building strength sometimes means gaining weight. However, just because the scale is ticking upward doesn’t mean your fat loss efforts are failing. Instead of relying on the scale, use other methods to track your progress.
Pay attention to your body measurements and how your clothing fits. You know you’re on the right track if your waist is slimming and your clothes are growing loose. Increased strength, endurance, and mobility are other great indicators of improving your fitness. Track your workouts in a notebook to see your progress over time.
Weight and fitness greatly impact the quality of life in old age. Seniors who want to remain independent and active into their later years should make physical health a priority. However, losing weight alone is rarely enough.
Losing weight after 60 is possible with the right combination of diet, exercise, and good discipline.