Weight and Aging: Tips to Maintain a Healthy Weight

To many people’s dismay, our metabolism slows down as we age. This unfortunate process poses an even greater risk for seniors, as studies have shown that after the age of 40, we lose one-third to one-half of a pound of muscle each year and gain that much in body fat.

This is significant because the less muscle we have, the fewer calories we burn. Pair that with a sedentary lifestyle and the pounds can really begin to add up over the years.

As much as we would like to think those extra pounds don’t matter, countless studies have found that unhealthy weight or obesity can increase the risk of many deadly diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. This is why it’s so important to maintain a stable, healthy weight as we age.

But it’s important to remember that it’s not all about the number on the scale. It’s about being healthy for your size. In honor of Healthy Weight Week, we wanted to share some tips for safely keeping your weight in a healthy place.

  1. Be Active
  • Play actively with grandchildren or pets. It’s exercise, but it’s also fun!
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. It may not be possible for some, but if you can, try to opt for the stairs.
  • Spend time in the garden. Gardening not only allows you to get out of the house and move around, but also means there will be fresh fruits and vegetables for the dinner table.
  1. Eat Smart
  • Get the most out of your meals. Try substituting whole grains for white rice and bread. These will keep you full longer.
  • Have fruit for dessert instead of a high calorie pie or cake. Fruit is loaded with natural sugar but doesn’t have all of the extra.
  • Drink a glass of water before deciding to eat. Because thirst can sometime be mistaken as hunger, drinking a glass of water before you grab a snack will let you know if you’re really hungry or not.
  1. Feel Good
  • Get adequate sleep. A sufficient night’s sleep improves our alertness, mood and daily performance.
  • Manage stress. If you begin to feel stressed, try to take a few deep breaths and relax.
  • Try to laugh. No matter what issues you seem to be running into, it’s okay to loosen up and laugh every now and then. Cullen Hightower once said, “Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else’s can shorten it.”

For caregivers, sometimes the stress and busyness of daily life makes it so that you don’t have time to accompany your loved one on a walk, or see to it that they make their way to the garden. This is where an in-home care nurse could help. By accompanying and encouraging on walks or encouraging a healthy diet, you can ensure that your loved one will be taken care of and maintain a good healthy weight, even when you don’t have the time.