Shedding unwanted pounds becomes a challenging task for seniors because of age-related changes with how the body turns calories into energy, and building bone mass and maintaining muscle strength can be equally difficult. Ideally, you should steer your senior loved one toward a weight loss routine that won’t compromise muscle and bone health in the process. What’s the best weight loss program for seniors? Here’s what the latest research says.
More Protein, Fewer Calories
Wake Forest University conducted a study involving nearly a hundred participants 65 and older to attempt to determine what the best weight loss program is for seniors. Half of the subjects were placed on a low-calorie meal plan for six months that included two main components:
• 1 gram of protein per kg of body weight
• Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D
The other group followed the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies’ dietary recommendations for seniors—.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight. Researchers discovered that older adults in the first group benefited more from their weight loss plan, which included more protein and fewer calories. Seniors following this type of weight reduction program experienced:
• An average weight loss of nearly 20 pounds over a six-month period
• Muscle mass that was preserved as weight was lost due to the uptake in protein
• Bone mass that was also preserved to the point where fracture risk was reduced
• Noticeable improvements on the Healthy Aging Index, which evaluates key health-related factors that pertain to seniors
Researchers concluded that seniors who need to lose weight are likely to benefit more from a weight loss plan that’s nutritionally balanced and high in protein. The added protein contributes to a favorable shift in body composition that doesn’t compromise bone and muscle mass in the process.
If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care. Rockwall Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Fewer Carbs and Leaner Proteins
For the higher-protein meal plan to be effective, researchers suggest that seniors reduce carbohydrates, especially ones that are processed. The carbs seniors should definitely avoid are those found in sugar-sweetened beverages, pastries, and white pasta, bread, and rice.
Legumes, potatoes, and whole grains are some of the healthy sources of carbs that could still be part of your loved one’s diet plan. However, the bulk of your loved one’s weight loss program should involve a diet peppered with lean proteins such as:
• Skinless chicken and turkey
• Salmon, trout, mackerel, and other healthy, protein-rich fish
• Yogurt and other low-fat dairy products
• Egg whites
• Oats, seeds, and almonds
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional homecare. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Plenty of Exercise
The study mentioned above didn’t include exercise as part of the weight loss program that was recommended for either group that was evaluated. However, it’s generally advised that seniors boost their odds of successfully keeping unwanted pounds off by also getting regular exercise. According to SilverSneakers, forms of exercise that tend to be most effective for seniors looking to lose weight include:
• Walking at a comfortable pace
• Low-impact aerobics
• Cycling or stationary bike use
• Yoga, Pilates, and similar forms of exercise that target core muscle groups
Staying at a healthy weight can make it easier to remain independent in the golden years. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Rockwall seniors can depend on. To speak with one of our friendly and qualified Care Managers, call (972) 722-7833 today.