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Losing Weight After 60: Making It Work

Metabolism matters when it comes to weight loss. If you have a fast or high metabolism, for example, you’ll burn more calories whether you’re exercising or resting. That explains why some people can eat more than others and still not gain weight. 

As you get older and approach the golden years, however, your body’s metabolism tends to slow down. And you might have noticed that you’ve gained some weight since you turned 60. 

Even though weight loss is natural in 15-20% of the elderly population, you might be one of those struggling to maintain the proper weight. But don’t lose hope — losing weight after 60 is possible.

Below we’ve shared a few tips to help you feel fit and healthy this 2021, even after you’ve hit your golden years. 

1. Maintain a High-Protein Diet

A diet made up of high protein content is great for older adults looking to lose weight. This is because protein can help boost metabolism. Moreover, protein-rich foods have a high thermic effect, which helps increase your body’s post-meal metabolic rate. 

A high protein diet also makes it easier for you to maintain the proper muscle mass. But why is muscle mass important? By increasing your muscle mass, you’re helping your body boost its resting metabolic rate. This means that you can make your body burn more calories even when you’re asleep. 

Studies show that if you’re getting 25-30% of your daily calorie intake from protein, you could burn up to 80 to 100 calories a day. On top of that, protein-rich foods fight off sarcopenia, a syndrome that involves the gradual loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength.

Protein-rich diets recommended for the elderly include the DASH, TLC, and Mediterranean diet. These diet programs can also make it easier for you to manage conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Consider adding these protein-rich foods to your diet:

  • Oats
  • Milk
  • Cottage cheese
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Tuna
  • Chicken breast (without skin)
  • Turkey breast
  • Lean beef 

2. Get Enough Exercise

As we mentioned earlier, losing muscle mass could slow down your body’s metabolism. When this happens, your body will fail to burn more calories.

So the best solution is to get regular exercises to help rebuild your muscles. Here are a few examples:

HIIT Exercises

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best weight loss programs. This type of exercise involves short bursts of intense training with low-intensity recovery periods in between. An example of HIIT would be taking a 20-second sprint then resting for 40 seconds to a minute before starting on your next sprint. 

Keep in mind that the rest period before the next interval is crucial if you want to make this type of exercise work. Making your body shift between active and passive states provides excellent cardio benefits. The rest periods are what help your body perform at its max during the high-intensity spurts. 

Even though HIIT may seem somewhat physically demanding, it’s effective in slowing down the aging process and maintaining a good quality of life. 

Water Aerobics

Water aerobics is great for losing weight after 60. After all, the buoyancy of the water can help reduce the pressure on your joints. Moreover, the water’s resistance can help you perform strength exercises to improve balance and flexibility. 

Some types of water aerobics exercises you can do include arm curls, leg lifts, and aqua jogging. Start out slowly by performing about 10-15 minutes of water aerobics a day, three times a week. As you become more used to performing this type of exercise, you can raise it to 20-30 minutes a day, four to five times a week.

Resistance Training

If you’re looking for the best weight loss program, you might want to consider resistance training. Some basic equipment you’ll need include:

  • Dumbbells
  • Resistance bands
  • Medicine ball
  • A chair

Resistance training builds muscle. Since you’ll gradually lose muscle mass as you age, it’s a great way to maintain a healthy metabolism. By performing regular strength training, you can improve mobility, boost stamina, and reduce dependencies on assistive devices like walkers or canes.

Tai Chi & Yoga

Tai chi and yoga is perfect for the elderly because it isn’t as physically demanding as other types of exercise. It also doesn’t require any type of equipment. Below is a list of its benefits:

  • Better muscle strength
  • Greater balance & flexibility
  • Boosts stamina and endurance
  • Contributes to weight loss
  • Reduces back pain
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces stress

Choosing between yoga and tai chi will depend on your preferences. If you prefer slow, fluid movements, tai chi might be your cup of tea. But if you prefer more static postures and poses, go for yoga instead. 

3. Ensure a Good Night’s Rest

Apart from maintaining a proper diet and getting enough exercise, older adults should also pay attention to their sleeping habits. Studies show that people who fail to get an adequate amount of sleep are unable to shed pounds as effectively than those who do.

To take that idea further, poor sleep is also linked to muscle loss. After all, how can your muscles grow if you lack sleep?

Some activities you can do to sleep more soundly is by exercising during the day, taking a warm bath before bedtime, and decreasing your intake of fluids right before bed. And make sure to stay away from your smartphone when preparing to go to sleep. After all, your mobile device emits a blue light that disrupts melatonin — a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle.

Maintain Your Fitness Goals Even After 60

Losing weight after 60 can seem challenging at first glance. But if you think about it, it just boils down to three things: a protein-rich diet, proper exercise, and healthy sleep cycle.

If you need help staying on track with your weight and fitness goals, consult your doctor. Just remember to remain consistent with your efforts so it’ll be easier for you to track your overall progress.

Need more advice on how to stay fit and healthy? Check out the LifeClinic blog.

Dr. Reza Alizadeh

Dr. Reza is the visionary behind LifeClinic. His leadership is the foundation for the patient and team member experience, and overall direction of the LifeClinic. As the creator of IMJT, Dr. Reza continues to be the primary teacher on this technique.

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