Although 50 may be the new 30, the fact is that there remain some changes in the body that simply can’t be denied, and among those that are the most important to remember are the ones that have to do with weight loss and dieting over 50. When you were in your teens and your twenties, it likely felt as though all you needed to do was blink an extra time and you could drop that extra handful of pounds before the weekend got started. That isn’t the same thing when you enter your fifties and beyond. Dieting over 50 can be challenging.
Metabolisms are slower, joints are stiffer, muscles are more sore, and pounds seem to pack on far more quickly than they come back off again. The American Council on Exercise has figures that state that for every decade, the metabolism slows by an average of about 1 to 2 percent.
It is believed that this is because of a reduction in the amount of muscle mass that the body carries over the decades. Muscle is a natural calorie burner, so the less there is of it, the fewer calories the body burns while idle and while active.
The body also increases its fat mass, which is a substance on the body that is considered to be metabolically inactive. Therefore, it feels as though it takes a great deal more effort to be able to lose a pound of fat when you’re dieting over 50 than it did at any point in your life, because it likely is.
Still, that issue can be turned around and you can still improve your fitness and lose weight without having to feel as though you’ll pull out your hair.
Use the following tips to get you going when dieting over 50:
• Focus on weight training – cardio may be the biggest calorie burner at the time that you’re doing it, but weight training is what builds your muscle mass so that you’ll burn more calories overall, regardless of whether you’re doing a cardio workout or you’re sitting idle at the end of a long day. Replace that muscle mass that you lost and maintain what you gain by keeping strength training as a regular part of your weekly workouts.
• Check your hormones – head to your doctor’s office and have your hormone levels checked. Hormones play a tremendous role in the metabolism and the body’s use of energy and storage of that energy as fat. Many hormones decline at various points in our life. When we are aware of them, the proper steps can be taken to bring them back into balance once again.
• Select workouts that are easier on the joints – when it feels as though your joints are stopping you from being able to do exercises on a regular basis, then find exercises that won’t allow your joints to stand in your way. Swimming and other aqua training can help you to receive a full workout without straining your joints.