5 Best Tips for Belly Fat After 50, Say Physicians
Belly fat is not good for you at any age, but it can really harm your health as you get older. "Visceral fat coats some of your internal organs and hangs down like an apron from your large intestine," says gastroenterologist Samuel Klein, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "It's associated with an increased risk of metabolic diseases, including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease." Here are the five best ways to get rid of belly fat after 50, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Find An Active Hobby
Anything that gets you moving every day is great for keeping belly fat at bay. You don't need to join a gym or run for miles—just make sure you're getting exercise in a way that is fun and sustainable. "Exercise is key to weight loss and to maintaining that weight loss," says endocrinologist Bartolome Burguera, MD, Ph.D. "Generally, however, people who successfully lose weight and keep it off tend to be physically active — up to an hour per day. Engaging in some form of exercise three times per week is highly recommended."
Make Sensible Dietary Choices
The older you get, the more important it is to make good choices when it comes to diet. "It's not just about preventing deficiency diseases. It's about keeping our systems optimal as we age," says Katherine Tucker, director of the Center for Population Health at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Protein is especially important due to age-related muscle deterioration. "Muscle mass is linked with everyday functionality," says Rosilene Ribeiro, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Sydney. "It affects normal things like gardening and walking long distances. When you can no longer do things you once could, it creates a snowball effect."
Lay Off the Alcohol
Not only does alcohol increase your risk of belly fat, our bodies become far less efficient at processing it as we grow older, which can lead to other serious health conditions. "It's about age 50 that these biological processes start happening," says Alexis Kuerbis, an associate professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York. "Just like our eyesight might fail or hearing might fail, our perceptions are failing. We can't sense that we're getting more intoxicated as we age. We think we're fine."
If you're overweight or obese, losing weight can make a significant impact on your belly fat. "Weight loss is really the most important thing," says Dr. Klein. "You don't have to become lean, but losing a little bit of weight, even if you're still obese, can have important benefits if you can keep the weight off long term."
Try Not To Stress-Eat
Don't use food in an attempt to alleviate stress, experts warn—it's bad for your belly. "It's not just a formula of calories in and calories out. What we eat and how much may determine our overall weight, but stress influences where that fat actually gets deposited on our body," says Elissa Epel, Ph.D. "We know that excessive exposure to cortisol can increase belly fat. So it's logical that stress reduction should minimize it."