Seniors Try to Stay Fit

As You Try to Stay Fit

In the last decade, the number of obese and overweight adults has significantly risen. It gets especially harder to lose weight as you become older. Traditionally, low caloric intake was the solution for obesity. In recent years, however, growing evidence points to lack of exercise as the primary reason for the problem. The promise of a quick weight loss in a short span of time is tempting. However, your bodies are too concerned about survival to lose weight quickly. As soon as calorie intake is reduced, your body starts to slow down to conserve energy. It gets even slower for the older folks. After a few weeks of dieting, you experience the plateau effect: weight loss stops despite your efforts. Reducing your calorie intake further temporarily restarts weight loss, but with time, another drop in your body’s use of energy resources brings about another plateau effect.

Severe eating restrictions usually results in the loss of fat-free mass. This muscle tissue that you lose cannot be regained without exercise. Therefore, a good workout boosts your body’s metabolic rate and calorie expenditure, minimizing the slow down. It is not uncommon for a rookie exerciser to expend energy at the rate above resting levels. Exercise keeps the rate up and the extra calories will keep burning for some time even after you stop exercising. It also helps preserve the important muscle tissues while dieting. Thirty minutes or more of physical activity or bouts of aerobic exercise per day can yield several health benefits. Studies even show that inactive people can improve their health and wellbeing by becoming moderately active on a regular basis.

Physical activity does not have to be strenuous to provide health benefits. Start slowly and gradually build up to the desired duration and intensity of exercise. A good start is to walk instead of taking cars and buses, and use stairs instead of elevators. People with chronic health problems or inactive people over the age of 40 should consult a doctor before starting a program of physical activity. Sadly, there are barriers to regular exercise. Lack of time is at the top of the list. Other excuses include embarrassment at taking part in an activity, inability to exercise vigorously, and lack of enjoyment.

It takes time to make a new behavior a lifetime habit. Slow and gradual changes in eating patterns and exercise levels may help you achieve your desired body weight. Regular physical activity also reduces the risk for several diseases and improves the overall quality of life even when no weight is lost. Moreover, the best exercises to strengthen the heart and lungs are aerobic ones. Regular weight-bearing physical activity is critical for building bone mass early in life and for preventing bone loss in the later years. Exercise builds flexibility, strength, and coordination, which can all help older individuals avoid falls, hip fractures, and other injuries. You will also see a significant improvement on your flexibility and posture. With a more active lifestyle, you’ll soon see a higher self-esteem and improved body image.

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