Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital
Planning for the future is just as important when you’re 50 as it was when you were 18. To stay physically fit and in good health as you get older, it’s smart to manage your weight now.
People’s weight often creeps up on them as they grow older. One reason is that you may be burning fewer calories at an older age, especially if you are not very physically active. If you want to prevent weight gain, you’ll need to eat fewer calories and continue — or start — a regular exercise routine.
Find out your healthy weight
The first step toward maintaining a healthy weight in older age is to find out what a healthy weight is for you. There are two good ways to do this:
Ask your doctor about your body mass index (BMI). BMI uses your height and weight to calculate your body fat. Your doctor can measure your BMI to find out where your weight falls on a scale of normal, overweight or obese.
Measure your waist. A waist measurement of more than 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men is unhealthy and puts you at risk for a number of health problems, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Why does weight matter?
Being overweight can have a variety of harmful health effects.
For example, being overweight or obese may increase your risk for:
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Bone and joint problems
Managing your weight through the years
Keeping a healthy weight isn’t a short-term project. To ensure that your weight stays in a healthy range in the years to come, you’ll need to make the following healthy lifestyle choices a permanent part of your life:
Eat well. Although you may need fewer calories as you age, you still need to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Focus on foods that are rich in nutrients, such as:
A wide range of fruits and vegetables
Fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products
Fish, lean meats, poultry and eggs
Beans, nuts and seeds
Your goal is to get 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or 30 minutes on most days of the week. If that still sounds daunting, you can reach your goal by exercising in 10-minute bursts.
Patrick Moody is the director of marketing and public relations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. For more information about local community health programs, visit HenryMayo.com.