Some people appear as though they never change as they age. In fact, they may look as though they've remained the same weight forever. As for the majority of individuals—even those who are in great shape—that's just not the case. As you grow older, you lose muscle mass and your metabolism slows down. In addition, your activity level may decline, which means you're not torching as many calories as you once were. The result? You might find yourself putting on weight as you get older. To address this frustrating issue head-on, we've come up with some secret exercise tricks for slimming down after 60.
Gone are the days when you could simply stop snacking and everything would fit better, and there's not much in life at 60 that's more stubborn than your scale. Because of the decrease in both activity and metabolism, once you hit 60, it's recommended to cut your calories by 400 to 500, according to Northwest Community Healthcare. We spoke with Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA, chair of Jenny Craig's science advisory board, co-director of Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center & faculty at Harvard Medical School to learn what else to do that works. Read on to learn the secret hacks on slimming down after 60, and next, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
Lace up your sneakers, and take a brisk walk to keep the weight off
The first trick on slimming down after 60 has to do with cardio. Put on your best sneakers, grab your walking buddy, and start taking some steps in the right direction towards your fitness goals. Fitch tells us, "For people who are over 60, walking is one of the best activities that you can do to keep your weight off. It's low impact, light on the joints, and good for your body. In addition to improving heart health and preventing and treating problems with high blood sugar (pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes), walking also improves mood, decreasing depression and anxiety."
So not only will planning some walks each day help with your weight, but it's also beneficial for your overall health! Fitch continues with the many benefits of getting in your cardio, explaining, "You increase sleep quality as well as energy level. Just make sure you're taking more than a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. You should be walking at a brisk pace—i.e. fast walking—and keeping that heart rate up for at least 45 minutes."
Incorporate two days of strength training into your weekly routine
In addition to cardio, strength training should be one of your new best friends. According to Fitch, "It's also really important to include two days of strength training in your weekly workout sessions. Muscle mass drops [an estimated] 3-8% every decade once you hit 30, but it compounds starting at 50." She adds, "Fat burns fewer calories than muscle does, so when you lose strength, your metabolism slows and you're burning fewer calories. Plus, you tend to lose muscle mass when you lose weight, so adding a day or two of strength training every week can help prevent that."
Pair a healthy nutrition program with your exercise
Filtering in a new exercise routine to your week can be difficult, but the results will be so rewarding. Fitch shares more healthy habits to add to your daily regimen, noting, "Science has shown that while adopting a healthy nutrition program is key to dropping inches, exercise can actually help seal the deal and keep the weight from coming back. Think of healthy nutrition and that 8,000 steps per day as your win-win strategy, one element supporting the other. Be mindful of every mouthful while you're literally taking steps to achieve and maintain your healthiest weight."
Sit less frequently during each day, and take breaks to stretch
We also learned from Fitch that something as simple as sitting less frequently during each day is a great habit to keep in mind. Getting in exercise on a regular basis is crucial, but sitting during the in-between times can actually counteract the goodness you're getting while working out.
She advises, "Just focus on moving throughout the day—do jumping jacks during commercial breaks, take a five-minute stretch break every hour; things like that. The easiest way to get in the habit is to set reminders on your phone until you get into the habit."