Many adults experience weight gain around their middle after the age of 40. This can be related to the decline in muscle mass that occurs with age, resulting in fewer calories burned during exercise and daily activities. In women, estrogen decreases after menopause, which affects the way our bodies store fat. Fortunately, there are ways that we can stay healthy despite these changes.
Exercise helps speed up your metabolism, which will help you burn more calories during exercise and daily activities. Cardiovascular exercise is important for heart health and for burning calories, and includes activities such as walking, biking, jogging, dancing, and gardening. Strength training can help prevent the loss of muscle mass and bone mass. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity for most healthy adults. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any exercise regime.
It is difficult to prevent weight gain by diet alone. Exercise is key. Without exercise, you can only reduce your caloric intake so much before you start to feel deprived, miss out on necessary nutrients, and behaviors of disordered eating arise. However, it is important to eat healthfully at any age. Emphasize plant foods in your diet, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit saturated fat intake, found in high-fat dairy and meat products.
It is important not to become obsessed with the numbers on the bathroom scale. The goal is to keep fit and stay healthy, regardless of your weight. More important measurements of your health include your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Healthy readings of these measurements can be achieved with healthy eating and exercise, with or without weight loss. After all is said and done, we need to learn to love and respect our bodies, doing what we can to stay healthy. This attitude will help you age gracefully, be happy, and feel confident in yourself.