According to WebMD, most people experience a peak in muscle mass in their 30s, and it’s all downhill from there. If you don’t get enough of the right exercise, you may lose up to 5 percent of your muscle mass every year as you age. It’s a vicious cycle. As you lose muscle, you lose strength, making it more challenging to exercise.
Your metabolism also slows down, and it’s easy to pack on the pounds. Maintaining muscle mass is one of the keys to keeping excess weight off if you’re over 60. Here are some other tips for losing weight as you age.
1. Use It Or Lose It
Although health conditions and pain may prevent you from moving around as frequently as you used to, exercise is important for wellness and weight loss. Keep moving as much as you can in your 60s.
You may not be able to jog 3 miles, but you can take a leisurely walk. Move your arms and legs. Do as much strength training and stretching as you can. The more you work your muscles and soft tissue, the less likely you’ll be to lose mobility and transition into a sedentary lifestyle.
Plus, if you never stop exercising, you’ll never feel like you have to start a new exercise plan as you age. Instead, you’ll transition your workout routine as your body changes.
According to Prevention, the area of your brain that controls thirst becomes less sensitive as you get older. You may not feel thirsty even when you’re slightly dehydrated. Make it a point to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Setting reminders on your phone can help.
Water is vital to metabolism and digestion. You may also mistake thirst for hunger and take in more calories than necessary. Drinking enough water can help everything in your body run smoothly and keep you feeling satisfied.
3. Strength Train
Resistance exercise is important for your bones as well as your muscles. However, keeping your muscles strong will keep your metabolism resilient. When you have more muscle, you burn more calories even while you’re sitting or sleeping. You may want to consult with a professional trainer who has experience working with seniors so that you avoid injury.
4. Eat Protein
Protein consumption supports lean muscle development. This Today’s Dietician article explains that seniors should consume about 1 gram to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
An easy way to get protein is to consume eggs, protein powder, fish and meat. According to the Mayo Clinic, leucine, an amino acid found in many animal products, is especially helpful for preserving muscle.
5. Strive For Maintenance
If you’re not exercising and watching what you eat, you might actually gain weight consistently as you get older. Therefore, don’t be discouraged if you have trouble losing it. Sometimes, it’s necessary to figure out what you need to do to maintain your weight before you can take steps to lose it. If the scale has slowly crept up over the years, keeping it stable is a realistic goal.
6. Be Patient
Your body takes longer to respond to changes when you’re older. You might not be able to push yourself as hard as you could when you were younger. Be gentle with yourself. Understand that sticking with a healthy eating and exercise routine will help your weight take care of itself.
7. Limit Alcohol
Although studies show that moderate alcohol consumption can be perfectly fine, seniors may not want to overindulge. Your liver plays a key role in digestion. As you age, your digestion slows down. If you harm your liver further by drinking too much alcohol, your ability to lose weight will be impaired.
8. Get External Accountability
Sticking to a workout or diet regimen can be hard if you don't have support. Enlist your friends to help you stay steady. Cooking or exercising together can give you the social motivation to remain on track. Being social can also boost your mood, encouraging you to maintain healthy habits.
9. Focus On Nutrients
Medical problems and other factors can lead to malnutrition in seniors. Make every bite count if you’re trying to lose weight. Choose colorful, fresh foods, and stay away from bland, highly processed foods. An omelet with kale and red peppers is more nutritious than a bagel.
The variation provided in a healthy diet will also prevent you from feeling deprived. Focus on all of the clean meats, fruits and vegetables that you can eat instead of the packaged snacks and sweets that you’re trying to avoid.
10. Stay Positive
It can be easy to lose motivation when you’re dealing with new challenges, such as health problems and pain. Try not to view these as barriers to weight loss. Instead, go with the flow. You’ve gotten this far in life. Use your experience to develop solutions to work around obstacles instead of letting them get you down. If you view life as a constant transition, you’ll be more flexible when you hit a stumbling block.