For many, our fifties are a time when we’re reaping the rewards of hard work and raising a family… But it’s also often a time when we begin to struggle with (unwanted!) weight gain.
Our slowing down metabolism can wreak havoc on our waistlines and cause our once-perfect wardrobes to no longer fit and feel as they used to. After age thirty, adults lose about 3 to 8 percent of muscle each decade. Our muscles are one of the body’s primary consumers of calories, and less muscle equals fewer calories being burned.
Even for those who have kept up a regular fitness routine, adapting to our fifties requires purposeful actions. It’s normal to feel a little achier at this age. And we might find it easier to limit our gym sessions or opt for walks in the park over other more vigorous options. You may have developed a recent health issue that keeps you from exercising as you used to. But weight gain after fifty, while common, does not need to be your story.
Here are tips gathered from nutritionists and fitness experts that can help you develop a solid weight loss plan.
Choose a physical activity you enjoy.
We remember to do the things we enjoy and are interested in. If you have failed to make your fitness routine stick. Or if it has caused you untold amounts of dread, it might be time to investigate other physical activities.
Many find that bicycling, whether around your neighborhood, or using a cycling machine at your gym or in your home, is a popular option. Not only is it easy on the knees, but if you use a stationary cycle you can enjoy your favorite TV show as you work out.
Just be careful of injury if you take to the great outdoors on your bicycle. Recovering from injury takes longer now than it did when we were in our twenties. If you do get into an accident, know what steps to take immediately after.
Reyna Injury Law says, “One of the most important things you can do after a critical bicycle accident is to see a doctor. Many of the most devastating injuries associated with bicycle accidents cannot easily be noticed at the scene of the incident. Even if you think your bicycle wreck left you with only minor aches, pains and cuts, these could be indications of major injuries like a TBI, or spinal cord damage that needs to be ruled out by your doctor as soon as possible.”
Get your muscle back.
So we covered that muscle loss means a slower calorie burn. A solution that cuts straight to the heart of the problem is to build more muscle by weight training. You do not need to go to the gym. Nor is your goal to get the kinds of muscles you see on dedicated weightlifters. What you are going for is to halt muscle loss by rebuilding muscle.
Strength training, another term for weight training, can be done at home, too. All you need are a couple of weights of a few pounds each and you are ready. Prevention.com provides this strength training routine that anyone at any age can start off with.
Be more aware of the food you nosh down.
Still eating as if you were in your twenties or thirties? Ah, for that time when you could binge on the weekends because you could easily work off the extra calories at the gym the next day… Not so any longer. Easily gained weight is no longer as easy to come off, even if you have a shiny new fitness plan that you are starting from today. Therefore, it pays to be a little bit more intentional about what goes down the hatch.
Reconsider your diet. You might need a complete overhaul, or you may only need a few adjustments. Whichever the case is, start off with small, doable steps. Trying to institute too much change all at once can often be the cause of a slippery slide back into bad habits.
A tip to help you cut those extra calories? Change the routines that surround your food choices. Do you always get a sugar-laden latte on your way to work? Choose something healthier on the menu. Do you find yourself reaching for that bag of chips once you get home after a long day at the office? Stop buying chips and replace that snack with air-popped popcorn or some low-calorie alternative instead.