Weight-Loss Programs for Seniors

Weight-Loss Programs for Seniors

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Stay fit during your golden years with regular exercise.

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It's true what they say, losing weight gets harder as you get older, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Losing as little as 5 percent of your current weight can improve your health and quality of life, and you don't need to follow a severely restrictive diet to achieve your weight loss goals. There's no single program that's best for everyone, but a good weight loss program for seniors should include a variety of nutritious foods and a sensible exercise plan.

Create a Calorie Deficit

No matter your age, weight loss occurs when you create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn. The trick is to find the right balance of calories and activity to promote weight loss and keep you feeling satisfied. Eating too few calories may help you lose weight initially, but it won't keep the pounds off for long. Your doctor can help you develop a good calorie goal to lose the weight. In general, women can lose limiting intake to 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day and men can lose limiting intake to 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day.

When it comes to losing weight, the goal is to lose at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds a week. If you're losing too fast, you may need to up your calories slightly. If you're not losing fast enough, you can drop them a little more, but don't go below 1,200 calories daily without talking with a doctor or dietitian.

Eat Nutritious Foods

Eating healthy is always important, but as you get older your needs change a bit and you need to include specific foods to better get enough nutrients. You need good sources of calcium and vitamin D for bone health, such as low-fat milk, yogurt and salmon as well as high-fiber foods for improved bowel function, such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. These foods are also rich in potassium, which is important for heart health. Poultry, lean red meat, seafood and healthy fats such as vegetable oil, nuts and avocados also make healthy additions to your plan.

In addition to being good for your health, these foods make excellent choices for your weight loss plan. Protein, fat and fiber in a variety of healthy foods all have satiety value to help keep you feeling full while you reduce calorie intake.

Get Moving

Being more active gives you a little more leeway in the food department while you're trying to lost weight. Exercise also improves muscle strength, coordination, balance and heart health. Before starting any exercise program, talk to your doctor for suggestions specific for your health and fitness needs. Most importantly, if you're new to working out, go slow so you don't get injured or burn out and lose motivation.

Some of the best exercises are the simplest, including walking, biking and swimming. To improve muscle tone and strength, try yoga, light free weights or a resistance band.