Even if you were fit and athletic in your teens and 20s, you may have put on some extra weight by the time you reached your 50s. As you age, you lose muscle and gain fat. Because fat burns fewer calories than muscle, your metabolic rate decreases by one or two percent per decade. Older people also tend to be less active than they were when they were younger, which is a major contributor to weight gain. Fortunately, weight loss is possible at any age. Here are 10 weight loss tips for men over 50:
1. Try Weight Training
Weight training at the gym might seem intimidating when you first start out, but it’s one of the best ways to get in shape. Most people have about 20 percent less muscle mass at 50 than they did at 20. Muscle burns more calories than fat, though, so increasing your muscle mass will help you burn more calories every day. Start slow to avoid straining your joints and muscles, but gradually increase the weight you lift so there’s always significant resistance.
2. Go Easy on Your Joints
Joint problems are common in older adults and can prevent you from getting a good workout. Try low-impact cardio exercises to avoid aches, pains, and strains. Swimming and other water exercises are a great option, but you can also try walking, cycling, kayaking, and dancing.
3. Stretch Every Day
Stretching every day is probably the most important of all weight loss tips for men over 50. Stretching is essential for preventing strain or injury, which can limit your ability to exercise. Doing some yoga stretches every day is a great way to increase your flexibility and reduce your risk of injury. Even just doing a few static stretches after walking or otherwise warming up your muscles can help.
4. Visit a Physical Therapist
Seeing your doctor before starting an exercise regimen is important, but seeing a physical therapist can be even more valuable. Make an appointment with a physical therapist to discuss any back pain, knee pain, or any other aches or issues you experience. The therapist can suggest exercises that will help you ease the pain or rehabilitate an injury.
5. Log All of Your Meals
You may be eating or drinking many more calories than you think. Logging your food and keeping track of calories is one of the easiest ways to lose weight. There are several websites that will calculate how many calories you burn in a day based on your age, height, weight, and activity level. Logging your calorie intake will help you make sure that you eat fewer calories than you burn.
Apps and sites like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, and Livestrong make it easy for you to input your food and calculate your total calories. You can also just keep track in a notebook. Make sure you’re accurate with what you record, though. Buying a food scale to measure out portion sizes is the best way to track your food accurately.
6. Pay Attention to Macros
The three macronutrients are carbs, fat, and protein. It can be very helpful to find a balance of these macros that works for you and do your best to stick to it every day. Carbs give you energy, fats make you feel full, and protein helps you build muscle.
Generally, men over 50 should aim for 45 to 65 percent of their calories from carbs, 10 to 35 percent from protein, and 20 to 35 from fats. Most food logging apps and sites will calculate your macros for you, but you can also keep track just by looking at nutrition facts labels.
7. Limit Refined Sugar and White Flour
Cutting back on refined sugar and white flour is one of the essential weight loss tips for men over 50. Sugar is the biggest contributor to fat gain, and refined sugar is extremely addictive. White flour has very few nutrients but is high in calories. Try to replace refined sugar with fruit and white flour with whole grains.
8. Don’t Drink Your Calories
You might be in the habit of drinking orange juice every month or having a soft drink with dinner. Drinking just one soft drink or one cup of juice per day can add up, though. If one cup of juice or soda is about 100 calories, cutting that out of your diet can help you lose 10 pounds in a year.
Calories from alcohol can add up quickly, too. Plus, drinking alcohol tends to make people hungry and more likely to eat high-calorie snacks. Limiting drinks to one or two days per week can be a great way to reduce your calorie intake.
9. Manage Your Stress Levels
Being in your 50s or 60s can be very stressful, so getting your stress levels in check is one of the best weight loss tips for men over 50. You may have lots of responsibilities at work, you may worry about finances leading up to your retirement, or you may have kids who are going off to collage at an expensive school. Emotional eating is a common response to stress, and it can destroy your weight loss efforts. Finding a healthy hobby to cope with stress is essential. Many people find that exercising is a great stress reliever, and it even contributes to your weight loss.
10. Be Patient
You won’t reach your weight loss goal overnight, but you have to stay patient. It’s easy to give up after a few weeks if you don’t see noticeable results, but keep reminding yourself why you want to lose weight. Set small goals for yourself, so you regularly feel a sense of accomplishment.
Over time, these weight loss tips for men over 50 will help you lose fat, gain muscle, eat healthier, and feel better. Even losing just 10 or 15 pounds can make a big difference in how you feel physically and mentally. As long as you’re patient and follow safe and healthy weight loss tips for men over 50, you’ll be able to achieve your goals.