Weight gain is common in seniors, and there are a variety of reasons for this. It is particularly important to maintain a healthy weight as a senior because extra weight creates more risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
This is why it is so important to treat weight gain before it becomes an issue.
A less active lifestyle
Older adults often continue to eat the same amount as they did when they were younger despite the fact that they don’t get as much exercise. Activity levels often decline with age for various reasons, such as decreased mobility and lifestyle changes.
Concierge MD offers a Wegovy injection that facilitates weight loss. It slows the emptying of the stomach, reduces appetite and increases insulin release. Wegovy is an injectable prescription medicine that is approved by the FDA for long-term weight management. Seniors can consult with their medical provider and have a prescription sent to a local pharmacy. They can self-administer an injection or have it administered by a healthcare professional.
Women usually hit menopause between 45 and 50. This causes a significant drop in estrogen and can make pounds settle around the belly. The shift in fat storage can increase the risks of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.
Testosterone levels in men reduce as they age, which can affect both fat distribution and muscle mass. The body becomes less effective at burning calories.
The pituitary gland produces less growth hormone (GH) from middle age onwards. One of its functions is to build muscle mass. As growth hormone decreases, the body finds it more difficult to build and keep muscle mass, which impacts the burning of calories.
A slower metabolism
Metabolism is the process of changing calories from food into energy. The faster someone’s metabolism, the more calories they burn. Being less active can contribute significantly to the speed of the metabolism.
Aging can mean the digestive system works less efficiently. This could result in burning fewer calories and storing more fat.
Losing muscle mass with age also contributes to a slower metabolism – having more muscle increases resting metabolism. This is why maintaining muscle mass is so important when aging.
There is some evidence that genetic factors may play a role in adult obesity. Some genotypes have more sensitivity to the bodily changes that come with aging than others.
Older adults often have to take various prescription drugs, some of which can cause weight gain. Some antidepressants, tranquilizers and corticosteroids are examples. A number of drugs also cause fluid retention.
Ways to deal with weight gain
Aging may be inevitable, but weight gain doesn’t have to be.
- Older adults should focus on eating healthy foods. They should prioritize whole foods such as vegetables, nuts, beans, and fruit which give them plenty of fiber. These high-volume foods take up more room in the stomach while contributing fewer calories to daily intake. They should also decrease fast foods, sugar and processed foods. Eating more foods rich in protein can help to boost metabolism and retain muscle mass.
- Downsizing portions is also recommended. It can be a gradual process to adjust to the lower calorie needs of the body. A small change like trimming about 100 to 200 calories a day can make a difference over time.
- Routine physical activity can help older adults to avoid weight gain. They should focus on physical activities designed to preserve bone and muscle mass. Routine exercises should include stretching, strengthening exercises and aerobics.
- It is important to drink enough water as staying hydrated with water instead of drinking beverages such as fruit juices or sodas can ramp up the metabolism and increase fat breakdown.
- Older adults who get enough sleep burn more calories. Certain hormonal changes occur when they don’t get enough sleep, which makes them crave high-energy foods more but feel less satiated.
There are various reasons why older adults gain weight. This includes aging of their bodily systems, having a less active lifestyle, hormonal changes and a slower metabolism.
They tend to have more fat and less muscle mass. However, weight gain isn’t inevitable.
To avoid it, they need to pay attention to proper nutrition, learn how to control their portions, and develop a consistent but varied exercise regime. Getting enough sleep and drinking enough water will also help them to maintain a healthy weight.