For seniors: How about losing weight today?

Published On: Dec 10 2012 08:32:18 AM CST

By Pure Matters

Much to our dismay, it is quite common for people to gain weight as they age.

Some of the gain is unavoidable, because as the body ages, body fat increases as lean muscle mass and bone mass decrease. Body fat doubles over the five decades from age 25 to age 75. Body weight increases until you reach age 60, when it begins to decline.

Less lean body mass needs fewer calories to maintain, and a more sedentary lifestyle that often accompanies aging also requires fewer calories. Because of these reasons, daily caloric needs fall by about 20 percent from age 30 to age 80.

If you continue to eat the same amount of food that you did when younger, you will gain weight.

The most effective method for losing weight is familiar: Exercise to burn calories and to build and maintain muscle, and/or limit the intake of calories.

Be active

Health experts suggest to prevent weight gain you get at least 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity, intense enough to make you breathe harder, on most days of the week and 60 to 90 minutes per day for weight loss and maintaining weight loss. You don’t have to get all the exercise at one time, 10 minutes of activity at a time is fine. Just make sure your exercise sessions add up to the total recommended minutes on most days. This can be achieved with activities such as walking, gardening, dancing and even cleaning the house or car. Activities such as walking, biking and swimming are good for burning calories.

Exercise, particularly strength-training routines that require you to lift or push weights, done two to three times a week, replace fat with muscle. This is important because muscle burns more calories than fat does. Balance and flexibility (stretching) exercises are also important because they help prevent falls.

Eat smart

When thinking about how to change your eating habits, remember that one pound of body weight contains about 3,500 Calories. To lose a pound a week, you would need to cut back on your calories by about 500 calories a day.

A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can be particularly beneficial for people trying to lose weight. The U. S. Department of Agriculture recommends the following for healthy people:

Don't ignore your water intake

As you age, your sense of thirst diminishes. Because you may not feel thirsty, you may forget to drink water, which can lead to mild dehydration. A fever or other illness, or hot weather, can lead to severe dehydration. To prevent dehydration, drink water regularly, even if you don't feel thirsty.

Remember to talk with your health care provider before starting any new fitness or weight-loss plan.