Once you reach 60, you would often hear comments like, “Slow down,” or “Take it easy,” or “You’re not as young as you used to be”. They have a point. You are more prone to pain and injury and at the same time, your strength and endurance are not the same as decades ago. Still, this doesn’t mean you should start saying no to exercise or living a healthy lifestyle.
Believe it or not, this is the time where you need to spend more time outside and watch what you eat. Keep in mind that your metabolism slows down once you get older. This means that refusing to move around and eat healthy adds a kilo or two every year. In other words, it makes you more prone to weight gain and worse, illness.
As I approach my 60s, I have implemented the following simple tips to ensure that my weight is down and I stay healthy in my senior years. I recommend that you embrace them too so you can truly enjoy this stage of your life.
- Know your numbers. Calculate your BMI and take note of other body measurements as well. This includes your waist circumference and body fat percentage. Keep in mind that hormonal changes play a lot on how you carry weight in your body, which is not necessarily making you gain more weight. At the same time, your body composition changes as you get older and cause a decrease in muscle mass. This explains why you may feel “fatty” at 60.
- Evaluate your lifestyle. Reaching the age of 60 might mean slowing down and sticking to leisurely activities – at least for you. Don’t. Simple adjustments in your lifestyle play a major role in your weight gain. It changes your energy balance too.
- Think of fibre. Fibre is essential in your daily diet. Aside from keeping you full longer, it also speeds up your overall digestion and keeps your blood sugar at bay. Be best friends with oats, whole wheat and whole grains. This minimises sudden cravings for sweets and unhealthy foods as well.
- Say hello to protein. Many people are scared of protein, particularly beef or pork. However, your body needs the right amount of protein, especially at this stage in your life. Protein keeps you fuller longer, and helps your body build and repair tissues. Just make sure to eat 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and you are good to go. In this case, lean meat is your best option. If you are not a big eater go for Greek yoghurt.
- Boost your daily activity levels. For sure, a number of people already told you to work out to maintain your weight. Still, this does not mean you should go to the gym every day. For starters, boost your daily activity levels. Mow the lawn, clean and re-arrange your home, and carry your groceries among others. Moving around and doing simple chores help you burn more calories.
- Take a quality multivitamin and pure fish oil. These are absolutely vital to ensure optimum health and wellness and compensate for any dietary shortcomings.
- Maintain balance in your workout. Aside from boosting your daily activity levels, hitting the gym say once a week could offset any changes in your hormones and body composition. Therefore, make sure that you have these three in your workout routines:
Aerobic training – this includes cardiovascular activities such as walking, running, biking or attending dance classes. This improves your heart’s health as well.
Strength training – the ageing process means a decrease or loss of muscle mass. Doing strength-training exercises such as lifting dumbbells helps build and maintain your muscles. This keeps your metabolism healthy too. Did you know that 70 per cent of seniors have inadequate bone density and suffer from osteoporosis or osteopenia? Strength training is vital to ensure strong bones.
Flexibility training – who says you have to skip flexibility routines? Stretching exercises could help a lot in increasing the range of motion in your joints. This makes it easier for you to move around too. And if you exercise outdoors you will increase your vitamin D intake.
At the same time, put the time in. 60 minutes of exercise could help a lot in keeping your weight down. If you have active friends who love to work out and pays attention to health and nutrition, go ahead and join them. Enrol in classes, organise workouts, and exchange healthy recipes. Live your life to the fullest.
Watch the following video and learn from Helen and Solveig who are 90 and 91 years young. They share their wisdom about why they think they are fit and healthy.
You don’t have to dread the day when you reach 60. As you age, it is normal to experience certain things, including some weight gain. Be kind to yourself, accept all these changes and stay active. This will help you keep your body lean and strong as well.
Tell us your thoughts below – what did you do and what are you doing to stay healthy at 60?