How overweight seniors can improve their health through weight loss

How overweight seniors can improve their health through weight loss

It’s no secret that in recent decades, the rate of obesity in the U.S. has risen significantly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, leaving them vulnerable to conditions like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

The epidemic has followed many adults into their senior years, and many obese seniors also carry the weight of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more on their shoulders.

Obesity tends to put patients in nursing homes at younger ages, and typically, they stay longer than non-obese patients. A recent study indicates that while an overweight 70-year-old might live just as long as a non-overweight person of the same age, they will spend approximately $39,000 more on healthcare.

How to beat the trend

Seniors who are overweight, no matter their age, do have the ability to tip the scales in their favor. With the help of a physician, they can alter their lifestyle, eating habits and physical activity to improve their health and perhaps eliminate co-morbidities.

Here’s how to get started:

Adopt a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet. Seniors who maintain a healthy diet have a reduced risk osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers. Seniors should eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods and stay away from foods with empty calories, like chips, cookies, alcohol and soda.

Maintain moderate physical activity. The National Institute on Aging recommends seniors get 30 minutes of cardio exercise (enough to elevate breathing) each day. Low-impact cardio workouts like swimming and walking are ideal for overweight seniors. Remember to warm up and stretch before a workout, and always consult a physician before starting an exercise regimen.

Increase flexibility and balance by practicing yoga. With the right class and instructor, a regular yoga practice can help seniors improve joint health, increase strength and flexibility and prevent dangerous falls.

Posted: 6/12/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: Loss, Overweight, Seniors, Weight

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