-By Jenn Conway, MS, CSCS, RCEP, Resident Wellness Coordinator
January is Healthy Weight Awareness Month. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do for your good health.
This past October I turned the big 3-0! As my birthday approached, I thought to myself, “Why does everyone get so worked up over turning 30?” and then when my birthday arrived and all my 30-something friends and family were gathered to celebrate, this question was posed and I found answers. I heard my friends saying that they started to notice aches and pains they hadn’t noticed before. They added that they couldn’t eat the same way they did when they were in their 20’s. They continued to say that they noticed that they actually had to work hard at keeping weight off by going to the gym regularly and watching their diet. Not like when we were in our early 20’s and eating fast food for the majority of our meals and not exercising regularly, and rarely saw the numbers move on the scale or our bodies change. The exercise physiologist in me said, “There are simple answers and solutions to all these complaints.”
As we age our lifestyle changes. We become less active in small ways, but forget to adjust our calorie intake to match our activity level. For example, for most, from our mid-20’s to our mid-60’s we spend 5 days a week, 8 hours a day sedentary at our jobs. During those 8 hours we are expending little energy, therefore burning very few calories. In addition to a decrease in our activity level, our metabolism starts to slow down. Metabolism is the process your body performs to burn calories. When your metabolism slows down you are not able to process as many calories as you once did. Unused calories turn into extra pounds.
As we age and our activity level decreases, a regular exercise routine becomes that much more important to our overall health. Exercise not only helps us to look and feel better, but it can also help to ward off health problems such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High Cholesterol
This is something I stress to members of The Becoming Center – Liberty’s health and wellness center for older adults, as well as to residents in our senior communities – Artman, Paul’s Run and The Village at Penn State. Our Liberty Lifestyles program focuses on providing residents with healthy meal options and regularly scheduled exercise programs. We also schedule monthly wellness lectures through our Liberty Lifestyles University. Many of the topics have focused on how to make healthy meal choices from the community menu and how to stay physically active in and out of the gym. As our residents age it becomes even more important for them to maintain a healthy weight for their overall health, as well as for their own comfort. As we age, our muscle strength and bone strength decreases. Therefore, in order to avoid many aches and pains, as well as joint issues, keeping excess weight off is crucial.
Exercise does not always have to be activity that you do at the gym. There are many daily activities that burn calories. Below is a list of activities and the calories burned in one hour.
In the end, the way to maintaining a healthy weight at 50, 80, or even 100 years old, is the same as at 20, 30, or 40 years old. You need to balance your physical activity level and your calorie intake.
Click here for more information on Liberty’s Senior Communities. To learn more about Liberty Lifestyles, call Resident Wellness Coordinator Jenn Conway (215) 643-6335 ext.185