Gaining weight as we age is inevitable, right? Wrong. But we need to pay attention to what we put in our mouths AND how we use our body. If you’re exercising less than you did a couple of decades ago then yes, weight gain is going to happen. And body composition does change as we age. We tend to lose muscle mass partly because muscle cells don’t repair themselves as fast as they previously did.
Diet plays a big role as our ability to burn calories slows down due to a subtle shift in metabolism, so we need to rethink the number of calories ingested. If you’re working out at the same or greater level than you did in your 20’s congrats then your calorie intake should remain the same or (slightly) lower (average Canadian woman 1,500-2,000 calories, man 2,000-2,500) but if you’re idea of working out is getting up from the sofa to get a snack, then you’re going to see your waistline increase, considerably.
Here are some things you can do right now to keep the weight off and start feeling better.
Strength training – Also known as resistance training or muscle conditioning and can be done using weight machines, free weights, medicine balls and resistance bands. Include a weight bearing workout to your routine a minimum of 3 times per week. Strength training promotes muscle strength and tone which helps prevent injuries; maintains flexibility and balance and equalizes the muscle to fat ratio (as you gain muscle your body burns more calories).
Cardio – Many people try to skip cardio but it is the most effective way to burn calories, quickly. Consider adding 30 minutes 2 – 3 times per week. Cardio workouts promote cardiovascular strength, increases bone density and may temporarily relieve depression and anxiety.
Low calorie, high-volume foods – Fruits and vegetables are nutrition dense which means they have a lot of nutrition with fewer calories.
Include protein in your daily diet – Protein helps your muscles repair and it controls hunger. Choose lean protein like poultry, pork, eggs, low-fat dairy or full fat non-dairy and plant proteins like tofu and beans.
Journal – Try keeping track of your daily routine. That includes food intake and physical fitness.