Managing Midlife Weight Gain

senior trainingOur body weight goes up and down every once in a while, even at your fittest. However, it tends to increase significantly as we reach middle age, and even though it is inevitable it is unhealthy especially if fat gets stored around the abdomen. Men usually gain about 5 pounds per decade, while women get an additional 3.5 pounds during the same time period.

We experience mid-life weight gain because of different factors. First, our muscle mass tends to decrease as we age, mainly due to decreased physical activities. Another is that our metabolism slows down as we age, needing fewer calories to maintain the same weight. Women also tend to gain a few pounds while undergoing menopause. This is because of hormonal changes.

Here are what we should do to maintain our health despite the inevitable mid-life weight gain.

Consume lesser calories – Calorie needs are at their highest during our mid-20s, which are then reduced by about two to four percent every 10 years. For instance, at age 20 you need about 2500 calories a day, while at 50 you only need about 2200 to 2350 calories. If you want to maintain your weight as you get older, you have to cut back your food intake by about 200 calories per day; this applies to men as well as women.

To boost metabolism and control hormonally related cravings, it’s also important to eat small, balanced meals or snacks about every three hours. Smaller portions and a nutrient-rich, balanced diet help to maintain weight, improve mood and increase energy levels.

Eat right – Consuming high protein and high fiber foods such as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, soy and mixed nuts which will keep you satisfied longer. Make sure your diet contains small amounts of unsaturated, heart-healthy fat, which is found in olive and canola oil, fish, avocados and nuts.

Or increase your calorie burning – Another way of fighting the mid-life weight gain is to increase the frequency and level of physical activities resulting to an additional 50 to 100 calories-a-day burnout. One easy way of doing so is by walking an extra mile for every decade.

Regular exercise is a way to boost your metabolic rate and counteract the slowing due to aging. It lowers your risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and osteoporosis, as well. Weight training can help boost metabolism by reversing the natural loss of muscle mass. More muscle mass means your body burns calories at a faster rate, even when you’re at rest