By Pranay Jain
Obesity is one of the most common phenomena today in developed and developing countries alike. A complicated condition, it is typically characterised by an excess of body fat. As one gets older, obesity can create complications and increase the chances of developing other diseases and health complications, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some malignancies. Especially in the post-pandemic era, with restricted physical movement for older adults, obesity is at an all time high.
So what causes this ailment to occur and why is it so prevelant amongst the older population? It is caused by a combination of genetic, physiological, and environmental variables, as well as dietary, physical activity, and exercise decisions.
But the good news is that older adults can combat obesity and fasten the weight loss process by switching to a healthier diet and engaging in regular physical activity and by following some of these effective steps:
Walking it out
Walking is an excellent place to start for the elderly who are overweight or obese. Walking is easier on the joints since it is a low impact activity. That’s just as beneficial for calorie burning and weight control as going for a run or going to the gym. When walking, the distance is more important than the pace. Even at a slower pace, one may burn a significant number of calories if the distance covered is considerably longer.
Working those Muscles
Obesity can raise the risk of major health problems, particularly among the senior population. Strength training focuses on two important components that deteriorate with age: bones and muscles. It is preferable to start with small weights and concentrate on the legs, arms, and core muscles.
Yoga is a terrific workout that isn’t too strenuous even as one gets older. The elderly can try yoga a few times a week or sign up for a yoga class in their vicinity. This will assist them to overcome their sedentary lifestyle while also providing an opportunity to socialise. Stretching after a brief warm-up is equally beneficial. It helps by improving the posture, reduces the risk of back pain, prevents muscle injury and soreness.
Sprucing up one’s diet
When it comes to reducing weight, diet is quite crucial. The Indian diet includes a lot of carbs and fats that directly contributes to obesity. The elderly cannot entirely modify their food habit, but they can combat obesity one step at a time. Since the metabolic rate decreases with age, the diet also requires a certain shift. The number of calories consumed needs to complement the number of calories burned. Every activity and diet change should focus on burning the stored body fat and avoid breaking down lean body mass. Eliminating foods like wheat, sugar, and dairy from one’s diet and replacing them with high protein, fibre, nuts and seeds, and small fruits will provide far greater benefits.
Highly motivated reward system
As is with most individuals, even the elderly seek emotional support and acknowledgement for their efforts. A goal-reward system can help keep the momentum while combating obesity.
Obesity may arrive at any age, however, as one gets older, hormonal changes and an inactive lifestyle raises the chances of being obese. Hence it is always wise to maintain a physically active lifestyle and good diet, especially as one grows older, in order to stay fit and healthy regardless of age!
The writer is Founder, BodyFirst