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How to Safely Burn Fat and Gain Muscle
If you're thinking of getting in shape as a senior, good for you! Carrying excess weight in old age can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It may even have an effect on your independence as you lose mobility due to chronic stress on your joints. It's never too late to embark on the path toward heath. However, weight loss is one of those unfortunate things that become more difficult as we age. Here are some measures that seniors can take to lose weight safely and enjoy their golden years in health.
Develop a Healthy Eating Plan
Eating a healthy diet will get you the nutrients you need to stay energized throughout the day and avoid developing chronic heart conditions. Older people need fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight due to a slowed metabolism and a reduction in physical activity. Seniors should focus on eating nutrient-rich foods and avoid empty calories at all costs.
Some of the best nutrient-dense foods include fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, lean protein and whole grains. Protein is important for seniors as it helps prevent muscle and bone loss during exercise. If you need something easier to prepare than fresh veggies, get familiar with the frozen foods section in your grocery store. Low-sodium canned or frozen vegetables, soups and stews are a great source of nutrients. Just make sure these are low in fat, sugar and salt.
Drink Lots of Water
According to Prevention, seniors tend to drink less water than they should due to a dulling of the thirst signals in our brains as we age. People with bladder issues may also avoid drinking water so they don't have to run to the bathroom as often. However, water is essential for supporting our digestion and metabolism. Without enough water in your system, your body cannot properly get rid of waste or absorb nutrients from your food. Try to consume more liquids throughout your day, especially on hot days and during exercise.
Get Your Heart Rate Up
Less than 8 percent of people over age 70 get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week. Seniors can benefit immensely from regular cardio endurance exercise as well as strength and resistance training. Try walking, swimming or stationary cycling. Any exercise that increases your heart rate without making it difficult to breathe is ideal. If you tire easily, try breaking up your exercise periods into smaller, 10-minute segments throughout the day.
Don’t Forget About Your Muscles
Adults are also recommended to do strength training at least two times per week to help regain strength and prevent muscle loss. Just make sure that any strength exercises you do are gentle on your joints. Avoid fancy exercise equipment where you perform one repeated action. Instead, aim for fun bodyweight exercises that require the use of your full range of motion. Resistance bands are also a great way to improve your strength without overdoing it with heavy weights.
Seniors may like to set up a simple home gym to practice strength and resistance training in comfort and privacy. You don't even need expensive gym equipment taking up space in your home. Just get a yoga mat, resistance band and some lightweight dumbbells. This will save you time and the hassle of commuting to the gym. You'll even save money you would have spent on a membership or fitness classes.
Aim for Flexibility
Did you know that stretching can actually help you with weight loss? Flexibility is important because it allows us to exercise safely without hurting ourselves and prevents muscle soreness after a workout. This allows us to work out more efficiently and burn more calories with each exercise. Seniors should add a combination of static and dynamic stretches to their routine. Some great ideas for gentle stretching can be found on Grandparents.com.
Being a senior shouldn’t mean you’re doomed to suffer from immobility and aching muscles. Regular exercise and healthy eating will help you regain control over your body and feel better every day. Just make sure to take it slow and talk to your doctor if you haven’t exercised in a while. Once you’ve got the all clear, go out there and get moving!
Guest Blog Writer:
Article by Kevin Wells of seniordiabetic.com