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Weight Loss in the Elderly

Posted by Jennifer on March 12, 2013

As people grow older, metabolism slows down and activity levels typically decrease. If caloric intake is not reduced to balance everything out, weight gain will be the result. Carrying around extra weight is hard on the joints, muscles and organs of an elderly person. Losing weight must be done safely, as it is not possible for a senior to just start up an extreme diet or exercise program to blast the pounds away. Creating a weight loss plan that takes individual condition and limitations into consideration is the key. Consult your doctor for help in designing a weight loss plan that is best for you.

It is important to note that after the age of 70, many people start to lose weight rapidly for a number of reasons, but body fat doesn’t necessarily decrease. The weight lost often comes from decreasing bone density and muscle mass. For this reason, it is important to focus on ‘fat loss’, not necessarily ‘weight loss’, and take into account the overall health of your body.

  1. Check with your doctor: Before making any radical changes to your health, make sure you speak to a doctor and address any concerns.
  2. Get moving – slowly: Start an exercise routine, but ease yourself into it. Remember that the exercise you did in your 30s or indeed your 50s will not be as easy now. If you have not been exercising for a while, start out very gradually. Walking, swimming, or yoga are great, low-impact activities.
  3. Reduce calories from the right areas: Calorie reduction is the most important factor in weight loss – however you still need to get the right calories in. Reducing intake of processed foods, sugar, white flour, salt, and trans fats, while increasing fruits and vegetables will strike the right balance.
  4. Drink water: Water is essential to overall health, appetite control, and weight loss. Especially when you are exercising more, you need to increase your fluid intake.
  5. Get support: Weight loss is immensely easier when you have the right people around you. Get a friend or family member to join the initiative, or join a health club that you will visit regularly to stay motivated.
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