As my 50th birthday approached, I began to look at myself in the mirror and see an uncomfortable truth… I was no longer going to rely on my speedy metabolism & natural athleticism. I’d never really had problems with my weight or had to worry about what I ate. I knew that aging meant a slowing-up of my metabolism and a decrease in my muscle mass – but it was quite a shock to realize I was going to have to dramatically shift my attitude (and habits) if I was ever going to be “Fit” again.
Right after my 50th birthday, I began looking for a personal trainer and that’s how I came to be a client of Lloyd Athletic Club, Lloyd Athletic Club Personal Training & Portland Personal Training. I met Nick and a few of the other trainers at the gym and decided right away that I wanted to work with them. I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time – but I do now – and it was the best decision of my life.
Why is it so hard to lose weight as we get older?
There are a lot of reason’s that it’s hard to lose weight and gain muscle mass after 50.
- Your body composition changes as you age. You lose muscle mass at an average rate of 3 to 5% for every 10 years after age 35, and this can impact the way you burn fat.
- According to the American Council on Exercise, your resting metabolic rate, a.k.a. your body’s ability to burn calories while sitting on the sofa doing nothing, decreases by about 1 to 2% per decade due to muscle mass loss and increased fat mass.
- As we age, we become more stationary. Our careers are typically farther along and that often means sitting or standing still for longer periods of time.
- We tend to get less quality sleep as we age as well. This can have a large impact on our stamina and energy level.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve exercised and you have health issues or concerns, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Especially if you have heart disease, kidney disease, or type 1 or 2 diabetes. And when you do begin to work out – you should see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Pain or discomfort in your chest, neck, jaw or arms at rest or during physical activity
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting with exercise or exertion
- Shortness of breath with mild exertion, at rest, or when lying down or going to bed
- Ankle swelling, especially at night
- A rapid or pronounced heartbeat
- A heart murmur that your doctor has previously diagnosed
- Lower leg pain when you walk, which goes away with rest
What are some good ways for people over 50 to lose weight?
Ok – let’s get to the good stuff. Here are some proven ways for you to start your own mid-life rejuvenation.
- First off, I cannot speak highly enough about getting a personal trainer. Not only will you see results faster, you won’t have to develop an exercise regime on your own. It’s more fun with a trainer and safer – PLUS…. accountability is your friend. I came to LOVE my Exercise Diary which gave me a way to track not only my workouts but my eating habits. Research shows that if you keep a food diary, you are more likely to eat healthier.
- Start slow, listen to your body, stretch & foam roll. I grew to love the meditative experience of foam rolling & stretching.
- Eat nutritiously dense foods, avoid over-processed foods and write what you eat down in a journal or use many of the helpful apps that are out there.
- LIFT WEIGHTS – Building more muscle mass helps improve your metabolism (you’ve got about 20% less now than you did when you were 20) and helps to strengthen your bones. Aim to do strength training at least twice a week, whether you use free weights or machines or do bodyweight exercises. It doesn’t hurt to lift every day—just make sure to work different muscle groups or train differently each day.
- HIIT – another weapon to use against weight gain is High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT workouts generally combine short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. These workouts often mix aerobic and resistance training. HIIT helps not only your BODY, but your MIND as well…
Here are a few good articles that go into more depth:
If you are interested in working with a FANTASTIC group of trainers, please visit Lloyd Athletic Club where you can learn more about Personal Training at a comfortable and welcoming Gym (we’ve won Best Gym in Portland two years in a row).
We will fit you with one of our personal trainers based on your goals, challenges and schedule. Your first session is free so you can simply come in – check us out and see if we are good fit. We are not a high pressure gym so you’re not going to get cornered into something that doesn’t feel right.
But this one step has the power to change your life. You really have nothing to lose.