Losing weight can be difficult at any age, but seniors face even more challenges than younger adults when it comes to taking off pounds. Those over the age of 65 contend with slower metabolism and less efficient digestive systems, and many have mobility issues that can make physical activity difficult. On the other hand, losing weight can significantly improve many other health issues common to older adults. These weight loss tips for seniors and fitness tips for seniors address some of the most common issues faced by older adults who want to lose weight.
Consult Your Doctor
Before you do anything else, talk to your health professional. When you do, ask about side effects of any medications you take regularly – many of them can make weight loss more difficult. It may be possible to substitute other medications for those, or your doctor may have other suggestions. Ask if there are special considerations for you where weight loss is concerned. Keep your doctor in the loop as you lose weight, especially if you are taking medications for diabetes or blood pressure, or if you are taking antidepressants or blood thinners. Your dosages may have to be adjusted as you lose weight.
Get a Referral to a Fitness Program
Ask your doctor for a referral to a fitness program. In many cases, your health insurance will pay at least part of the cost if your doctor has prescribed it.
Check Your Health Insurance
Even if your doctor doesn’t refer you, many health insurance policies for seniors will pay for at least part of your membership to a fitness club or weight loss program. Find out if yours is one of them.
Check Your Local Senior Center and YMCA
If your city has a senior center, give them a call to find out if they offer fitness classes for seniors. Many towns offer low-cost exercise and physical activity classes that are specifically geared to older adults who may have mobility problems. Your local YMCA or YWCA may also offer fitness and exercise classes geared to the needs of older adults, including low impact exercise classes, water exercise classes and sitting exercise or aerobics classes.
Walk to Stay Healthy
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise available. All you need is a decent pair of shoes and a place to walk. Take a walk around the block after dinner, or join a mall walkers’ group in your town. Start out slow and work your way up to 10,000 steps a day. Don’t like to walk alone? Make a date to walk with a friend three times a week. The company will provide added incentive to get out there and walk.
Learn to Do Something You’ve Always Wanted to Do
Join a club. Take a class. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. One of the best ways to lose weight is to increase your activity level, and one of the best ways to increase your activity level is to take up a new hobby or interest. In one study, researchers found that on average, people who took up a new hobby when dieting lost more weight than those who didn’t.
Treat Yourself Like Company
With the kids grown and gone, it may seem silly to prepare a meal and set the table for one person. Resist the temptation to eat in front of the television or while you’re doing other things. Instead, take the time to prepare a full meal at least once a day, and sit down to eat at the table. It will help you be more conscious of the food you eat.
Eat More Veggies and Grains
Fresh and fresh-frozen vegetables, whole grains and fruits should be among the mainstays of your diet. Keep oatmeal on hand for quick, nutritious breakfasts, and brown rice prepared for delicious and filling lunches.
Ask for Help
If preparing meals daily is a chore, don’t resort to pre-packaged frozen meals. Many of them have much higher calorie counts than is listed on the box. Instead, reach out to family or community for help. Set up a weekly Sunday cooking date with a grandchild or other relative and catch up with each other while you prepare single-meal servings of several dishes to freeze. You’ll have home-cooked, healthy meals with the convenience of freezer meals.
Losing weight is more difficult as you get older, but it’s not impossible. Be sure to keep your doctor informed of your weight changes and get moving to stay healthy and young.