Weight management tips for seniors
Your smartphone or watch can track your physical activity and provide on-demand data about things like how many steps you have taken throughout the day, or your average heartbeats per minute. Without a target metric, however, the health data summary might not have much meaning.
Why not put that data to work? In a new study, health experts say that older adults can fend off weight gain by walking about 9,000 steps a day. Adults who are outside the target weight will need to add about 2,400 steps to decrease their risk of developing obesity in half. Spanning four years, researchers tracked the activity levels and health data of more than 6,000 participants. The study’s main aim was to identify processes that go into developing individualized health care. People who walked about four miles per day, or 8,200 steps, reduced their risks for acid reflux, depression disorder and obesity, according to the study.
Continuous health monitoring let scientists account for when disease begins. The participants were between the ages of 41 and 67 with a range of weight and body mass indexes.
With that in mind let’s take a look at some of the challenges seniors face and some tips to try to help manage weight gain.
Common challenges seniors face on the road toward better health
As many older individuals can attest, losing weight or finding the motivation to uphold healthy habits are steeper hills to climb with added years. For example, seniors must compete with an impaired metabolism. This complex process involves nutrients, enzymes and hormones. As people advance in age, hormonal shifts may result in loss of body and muscle mass to the detriment of a stable metabolism. Medication side effects, poor sleep, skipped meals and mental health issues can all contribute to slower metabolism, as well.
Routines are also harder to break later in life. As a result, many seniors struggle to adopt new and healthier eating habits, but there are strategies that can be implemented.
Best practices for senior weight loss
A blend of new eating habits and portion control, builds progress toward healthy weight loss. Regulating portions has a direct impact on calorie intake, a vital factor for maintaining a healthy weight. One trick is using smaller bowls for proteins while saving larger bowls to load up on vegetables and leafy foods. Another tactic is eating up to six smaller meals throughout the day. This means a smaller breakfast, lunch and dinner with two other snack-sized meals sprinkled in between. This is a proven metabolism-boosting practice that can help seniors achieve their goals.
Hydration is also key. Seniors should aim for at least 64 ounces of water per day, especially after long walks or exercise sessions. The sensation of hunger can be deceiving – and could be remedied with a tall glass of ice water.
As a general rule of thumb when it comes to diet, extremes in any direction can be unhealthy, so seniors should focus on moderation. Dessert can remain a staple, but maybe not a daily one. Other unhealthy foods can slowly rotate out of the diet instead of all at once. With a slow and steady approach, seniors are more likely to find success in the long run.
Ignoring the scale is another trick. Weight change is common throughout the day, and a number in itself is not an indicator of good health. Instead of obsessing over a scale, seniors can think about new healthy foods they want to try, walking trails they want to see and the way they feel at any given moment. Focusing on healthy habits and how one feels should take priority over daily weight tracking. A weekly weigh-in is more than enough data to move ahead on health goals.
Lifestyle and amenities
Hollenbeck Palms is fully equipped with a gym and personal on-site trainer to assist individuals on the road to better health. Residents can engage in aerobic workouts, Tai Chi and yoga. Social opportunities with a physical twist are part of the equation at Hollenbeck Palms. Additionally, our dining options include vegetarian choices, healthy salads, and locally sourced foods. If you wish to speak with a dietician, we have that available also.
The health and happiness of our residents are top priorities. That is why we offer a variety of wellness and exercise programs as part of a comprehensive approach to vibrant living.
For more information about the Hollenbeck Palms lifestyle, contact us at [email protected] or (323) 307-4505.