Aging itself is not a condition, but a stage of life that should be enjoyed to its fullest. As aging is inevitable, many who lead active lives, filled with family time, social engagements, and the pursuit of personal interests, would agree that aging in a healthy state is the most desirable way to live. While it’s generally accepted that weight gain is an unavoidable biological consequence of normal aging, statistics show that a healthy weight can be maintained with a nutritious diet, a healthy lifestyle, and very importantly, conscious effort. After age 30, both men and women gain an average of one pound per year. Statistics show that it’s easier to avoid insidious weight gain over time than it is to lose weight and maintain weight loss as we age. Dr. Leslie Cho, a Cleveland Clinic interventional cardiologist, suggests that older individuals should focus on general fitness rather than a number on a scale. Researchers have found that a lack of physical activity was a better predictor of an adverse health event than carrying a small amount of excess weight.
Why do we gain weight as we age? If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to exercise.
Hormonal changes, a sedentary lifestyle, excess calorie and refined sugar consumption, medical conditions, and physical limitations can all affect weight gain. Most of us are aware of the alarming rate of global obesity. However, many not recognize may that adults age 40 to 59 comprise nearly 40 percent, and adults 60 years and older make up another 35 percent of Americans considered overweight or obese. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease defines overweight as an excess amount of body weight attributed to muscles, bone, fat and water, while obesity refers specifically to an excess amount of body fat.
Aging is characterized by changes in body composition that include weight gain and muscle loss, making it harder maintain fitness. Studies show that as we age we lose subcutaneous fat that resides just below the skin. Conversely, we gain health damaging visceral fat that builds deep within the abdominal cavity, where it fires up inflammatory processes and disrupts blood sugar regulation. Additionally, even those who remain active will lose some muscle mass each decade. Less muscle mass results in a slowed metabolic rate, which reduces caloric need. Declining hormone levels can also have a significant influence on weight gain and the development of body fat.
After age 50, both sexes must fight harder to lose extra pounds and effectively keep the weight off. As estrogen production decreases during menopause, women may notice weight gain and bone density loss, as well as increased difficulty losing weight. Men generally experience a decrease in testosterone, resulting in reduced muscle mass, lowered resting metabolic rate, and reduced calorie burn during physical activity. Still, men over age 50 have more lean muscle than women of the same age, and may lose weight easier and faster than their female counterparts. Don’t lose hope, however, as the difference between holding a steady weight and gaining one pound each year equates to the consumption of an additional 50 – 100 calories daily, a relatively small number of calories to forgo or keep in check with a brisk daily walk.
What can you do to maintain fitness? Exercise is really the only way.
If you are lean, it’s worth the effort to stay that way. Research suggests that physical activity may cancel out some of the negative effects of excess weight. Aerobic exercise and resistance training can help to maintain a healthy weight by boosting metabolism, reducing fat and building bone and muscle mass. Exercise helps to cool inflammatory processes and supports healthier insulin and blood sugar levels in people of all shapes and sizes. Individuals who are slightly overweight, but also physically active, maintain a higher degree of fitness as compared to those who remain inactive. That’s not to say that you needn’t set weight loss goals, as exercise won’t erase all the risks of carrying excess weight, particularly around the waist. In fact, those who are considered metabolically obese are at the highest risk of developing coronary heart disease.
The medical community supports staying active to help lower the risks of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and other chronic conditions. While the acceptance that some exercise is better than none, more health benefits can be gained by slowly increasing the frequency, intensity, and length of physical activity. Government guidelines recommend participating in aerobic activity, that utilizes large muscle groups including legs and back, and increases heartbeat, for a minimum of 150 minutes per week. Additionally, weight training, push-ups, or other activities that strengthen and build muscles can help to compensate for age-related muscle loss when performed at least twice weekly.
Metabolic slowdown that comes with aging means that you burn calories less efficiently than you did when you were younger. A healthy eating plan that consists of lean proteins, good fats, and complex carbohydrates will provide the proper nutrients to help support overall fitness. Filling your plate with nutrient dense and high fiber foods can help to improve hormonal balance and properly regulate blood sugar levels; and, along with physical activity, support and sustain muscle growth and bone strength.
Professional Supplement Center carries many high quality supplements to support physical activity, overall fitness and general good health:
15-Day Weight Loss Support Cleanse & Flush™ by Nature’s Secret®: This short-term use fiber and gastrointestinal support formula can help to stimulate digestive function, cleanse the digestive tract, and reduce bloating.
Weight Loss Support Packets™ by Designs for Health®: Designed to help the body burn fat for fuel, reduce cravings, increase energy and improve insulin sensitivity, these packets provide three distinctive Designs for Health® formulations for a three-pronged approach to sensible weight loss. Gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, egg and artificial ingredient free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
PGX® Weight Loss Meal Replacement Double Chocolate by Bioclinic Naturals: This formula promotes weight loss by increasing satiety and providing supportive nutrients for blood sugar metabolism. A full complement of vitamins and minerals ensures support for healthy macronutrient metabolism. Also available in French Vanilla and Very Strawberry flavors. Gluten, wheat, yeast and artificial ingredient free.
Raspberry Ketone Liquid Formula by OxyLife: This proprietary high antioxidant liquid formula aids healthy metabolism, energy production, and cellular health. Raspberry Ketone may be a valuable counter to weight gain resulting from a high fat diet by inducing fat burning for overall weight loss.
Forskolin Fat-Loss Diet by Irwin Naturals: This formula provides ingredients that promote fat reduction for healthy weight management support. When used in conjunction with a sensible diet and exercise, Forskolin can help to reduce body fat and optimize overall body composition. Preservative free.
Corvalen Ribose Chewable Tablets by Douglas Laboratories: These chewable tablets provide natural pentose sugar, clinically proven to help restore energy, support cardiac function and reduce muscle soreness, stiffness and fatigue. Specifically indicated for sports and fitness activities to accelerate energy and tissue recovery after exercise. Gluten, wheat, soy, dairy and artificial ingredient free, vegan formulation.
Weight Management Profile by ZRT Laboratory: This saliva and spot blood test measures estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol levels, as well as insulin, vitamin D and more. A 15-minute consultation with our Registered Nurse in person or by telephone to review results is included. Results may also be sent to your healthcare provider upon request. Shipping label and lab requisition included.
Overweight & Obesity Statistics. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity
The Best Ways to Lose Weight After 50. http://www.nextavenue.org/the-best-ways-to-lose-weight-after-50/
Healthy living through better habits: How changes in sleep, stress and diet can lead to a happier you. http://www.latimes.com/science/la-healthy-living-the-reasons-for-weight-1487203562-htmlstory.html
Why am I gaining weight? https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/why-am-i-gaining-weight
Is it okay to be fat if you’re fit? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/is-it-okay-to-be-fat-if-youre-fit
Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You’re Older? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/31/well/live/is-it-harder-to-lose-weight-when-youre-older.html