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The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Weight in Older Age

July 4, 2017 |

Topic: Diabetes Hydration & Nutrition

No matter your age, maintaining a healthy weight must always be of the utmost importance when considering your overall health and progress. While the process of aging may lead to some fluctuations in weight, having an overall healthy body weight ensures that you are leading a better lifestyle.

Before we delve in though, it is just as imperative to understand what ‘healthy weight’ constitutes of. There are several factors used to come to this conclusion. These include body mass index (BMI), the amount of body fat and muscle in the body, and body shape, or where the fat is being stored.

The Body Mass Index is simple, since it only gives a range of whether your weight is within the parameters of healthy weight or not. However, it is important to note that BMI is solely based on weight – it does not factor muscle (which often weighs more than fat) or any other indicators.

Since the BMI is based solely off numbers, it is equally important to look at that other factors when determining body weight. Thus, it is important to measure body fat and muscle content to get a better picture of overall health.

Waist measurement is also a key factor, as fat stored around the waist is an indicator of internal fat deposits. The latter increases the risk of developing chronic diseases such as some cancers, diabetes and heart disease.

To get an idea of whether someone’s weight is in the healthy range, follow the simple instructions here to see your BMI and how to measure their waist and evaluate what category their weight falls under.

Furthermore, it seems as if the importance of maintaining a healthy weight in older age is not discussed often, but it is vitally important from a healthcare perspective. Some of the reasons for maintaining a healthy weight in older age include:

  • Lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • Reducing impact on joints
  • Keeping your immune system strong
  • Preventing or minimising the effects of arthitris, various skin diseases and respiratory disease

These are just a few reasons for maintaining a healthy weight – there are several other reasons listed here.

Foods To Eat…And Avoid

Some tips to maintain a healthy weight are simple, but sometimes difficult to follow. Aim for at least 2-3 servings of fruits, and try to mix it up to gain maximum benefits. Incorporating a healthy dose of veggies (also about 2-3 cups) is also a good method to avoid gaining weight.

Dark, leafy greens are known for their antioxidant benefits so try to add more broccoli, kale and spinach to everyday diets. Carrots, squash and mushrooms are also good vegetables to include.

Other key foods to include are foods rich in calcium and healthy fats. Health Guide, in collaboration with Harvard Health reports that, “maintaining bone health as you age depends on adequate calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Older adults need 1,200 mg of calcium a day through servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Non-dairy sources include tofu, broccoli, almonds, and kale.”

Healthy fats are also a crucial part of a healthy diet, foods such as avocados, fatty fish, nuts and cheese are all examples that are easily added into diets.

Some tips to maintain a healthy weight are simple, but sometimes difficult to follow – especially when it comes to food that is best avoided. Ideally, sugar should be avoided along with excessive salt and unrefined grains as an example. The Guardian has some guidelines to help understand foods should be eliminated from diets after reaching 65, and it can be found here.

Adding Low-Impact Exercise To Daily Routines

One of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight while aging is through frequent low-impact exercise. Not only is it good for blood circulation and overall healthy, but incorporating a small amount into daily routine is imperative. Light gardening, walking, dancing, and swimming are just a few ways to increase heart health while maintaining an overall healthy weight.

Moreover, the benefits from these exercises span from lowered blood sugar, reduced stress levels, improved bone density to many more. Plus, these activities are also great for groups, which adds an added social benefit along with the health benefits.

Dietary and exercise guidelines vary from person to person and generally depend on their overall health, but a starting point can be found here.

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