What’s the Best Rx for Weight Gain with Aging?

By Robyn Priebe
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How many times have you heard this : “You think it’s hard to lose weight now? Just wait ’til you’re 30/40/50, and then you’ll see that it’s really impossible to lose weight!”?

Weight gain with age – are they truly linked? How many people can say that their bodies are similar in shape and size to their high school or college-age bodies? Is it reasonable to use our weight at age 20 for a goal weight at age 55? Is it telling that calculations for determining a person’s caloric needs factor in age and decrease the older we get?

Why is it that we may need less food over time? Does our appetite change, our metabolism, our muscle mass, our activity level or should we blame stress and hormones? Are we all destined to periodically step on the scale and think, “I’ve never seen THAT number before!”?

Well, I’ve heard that the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds of weight each year; I’ve also read 2 pounds every 4 years. Either way, it’s not decreasing. Much of this increase in weight is attributed to a loss of muscle mass, thus reducing the amount of calories the body burns. Also, where we carry weight may change over time, especially for women who are likely to gain more abdominal fat with the onset of menopause.

The good news: Preserving muscle mass and warding off this metabolic decline is possible. While not all muscle loss can be halted via exercise, much of it can. Resistance training, an often overlooked activity, is key in preventing muscle loss. Even seniors are able to reverse some of this loss by implementing resistance training routines.

Do you make it a priority to include resistance training in your routine?  What are your favorite types of strength-building activities?

3 Responses (Add Yours)

  • I really enjoy group exercise strength training classes, like Bodypump or GroupPower, that use barbells & a choreographed routine to popular music.

  • Robyn says:

    That DOES sound fun. I think good music makes all the difference in being motivated to move.

  • Kim says:

    I finally joined a gym because I’m renting a room. This one is open 24 hours a day and you can just swipe your card to get in and all the lights turn on. It’s amazing. I love being unable to sleep, get up and put on sweats and go to the gym at 3am and do an entire workout with the place to myself. This 24hrs a day thing is really working for my chaotic schedule. I do my PT rehab on my injured knee and then workout the rest of my body. It’s helped me not to gain any weight while I’m still having issues in the mobility department. Finding what works for you personally is the best way to stay active and build that muscle. I’ll be back in shape just in time for my favorite activity of all…. snowshoeing!!! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

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