HAVE you been noticing that as you get older you may be facing unique challenges when it comes to weight loss? It's not your mind playing tricks on you; in fact, factors such as hormonal changes and decreased muscle mass will influence how your body reacts to exercise and diet.
"Older women may experience challenges with weight loss due to a combination of biological, hormonal, and lifestyle factors," said workout developer Mesha Gaye Wright. "These include metabolic changes, where metabolism tends to slow down and the body burns fewer calories at rest; hormonal changes, where hormonal shifts can lead to changes in body composition; and muscle loss, where muscle mass naturally decreases with age."
She said it's important to note that while weight loss might be more challenging, it's still possible for older women to achieve their goals through a combination of regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and lifestyle modifications.
Here are some ways she says older women can overcome weight loss challenges in the gym.
Focus on strength training
As we age, muscle mass tends to decrease. Incorporating strength training exercises can help build and maintain muscle, which in turn boosts metabolism and helps with weight loss.
Prioritise protein intake
Protein becomes even more important as we age. Aim to include lean protein sources like poultry, fish, beans, and dairy in your diet. Protein supports muscle preservation and recovery.
Include moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling to improve cardiovascular health and burn calories.
Tailor your workouts to your fitness level and any limitations you might have. If needed, work with a fitness trainer to create a safe and effective exercise plan.
Warm up and cool down
As we age, joints and muscles may require more attention. Begin your workouts with a proper warm-up and end with a cool-down to prevent injury.
Flexibility and balance
Incorporate exercises that improve flexibility and balance, such as yoga or tai chi. These can help reduce the risk of falls and improve overall mobility.
Avoid overexerting yourself. Gradually increase the intensity, duration, and frequency of your workouts to prevent burnout or injury.
Set realistic goals
Understand that weight loss might be slower due to hormonal changes and metabolism shifts. Set achievable goals and celebrate your progress along the way.
"Remember, it's important to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed," Wright said. "Consultation with professionals like fitness trainers, nutritionists, and health-care providers can provide personalised guidance tailored to your needs and goals."