Know what your ideal weight it, and use these tips to reach it.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is important as we age. A healthy diet coupled with exercise can help us prevent various unwanted chronic conditions often associated with later life such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.
Healthy body weight is usually determined using a person’s body mass index (BMI). It’s an approximate measure of body fat. BMI is not always the only factor used to determine an ideal weight, so consult your doctor, too.
Beyond eating right and exercise, there are new trends for weight management. For example, fitness experts are now focusing on body recomposition — turning fat into muscle. This formula goes beyond just losing pounds. There is a heavy emphasis on gaining muscle through weight training and getting the right amount of protein in your diet.
Another example is managing your gut health — improving your microbiome (the home of your gut bacteria) through dietary changes, probiotic supplements and other lifestyle adjustments can help your body better process food. The exact science isn’t clear yet, but it appears that specific intestinal microbes may alter your sensitivity to insulin to help your body burn fat instead of storing it.
Regardless of your fitness plan, one thing is for sure — you must do the work. Develop healthy habits and routines that help you feel better while maintaining a healthy body weight in later life.
Lydia Manning is a gerontologist, educator and entrepreneur with a wide range of experience in the field of aging. She is an associate professor of gerontology at Concordia University Chicago. Dr. Manning received her Ph.D. in social gerontology from the Department of Sociology and Gerontology at Miami University.