7 habits that can help you age well – From Precision Nutrition – Habit 3
Over the next several weeks I will be sharing with you “7 habits that can help you age well” as outlined by Dr. John Berardi and Jennifer Broxterman:
Habit 3. Achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
According to research, there is a BMI “sweet spot” for the elderly.
Seniors with a BMI between 25 and 32 have the lowest rates of mortality, and recover better from illness and infection.
Being overweight or underweight can pose a risk.
Too much body fat can be harmful. In particular, visceral fat around our internal organs is associated with higher inflammation, insulin resistance and high blood sugar, eye problems like cataracts or blindness, kidney damage, and cancer.
However, some fat can be protective. Having enough body fat helps a person recover better from wasting diseases like pneumonia, cancer, influenza, and digestive issues. Having some body fat is also correlated with a lowered risk of fracture during a fall.
Common challenges seniors face with finding a healthy weight
Elderly who are underweight may struggle to gain weight: This can be due to low appetite, which can be caused by medication side effects, digestion problems, or zinc deficiency (which reduces sense of taste and can make food taste metallic). Social isolation is also correlated with skipping meals and eating less nutritious meals.
Those who are overweight may struggle to lose weight: Again, medication side effects can contribute to weight gain. Sometimes, seniors are just eating like they did when they were younger — except now, they’re moving less and may have lost metabolically active tissue, like muscle, to use those calories.
The onset of retirement and the “empty nest” stage can change eating habits: More leisure time and less routine may mean eating frequently at restaurants, often accompanied by more alcoholic drinks.
Action steps that can help
If weight gain is needed:
- Ensure protein requirements are getting met first. This macronutrient offers the biggest “return on investment” in terms of staying healthy and resilient as a senior.
- Healthy fats are calorically dense and can easily increase calorie intake.Choose fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nut butters, and full-fat dairy products like plain whole milk yogurt or aged hard cheeses.
If weight loss is needed:
- Practice mindful, slow eating. And instead of counting calories (which can be annoying to do at any age), measure portions using your own hands! (See this article for more information on this portion control strategy.)
- Prioritize whole foods. These include fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and appropriate amounts of healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.
In all cases:
- Avoid “diet rules” or forcing certain foods. If kale is unpalatable, take it off the table. If you want to have a cookie every now and then, enjoy that double chocolate chunk!
Fit for Life Class – Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Strength Focus – 5 sets of:
A) Carry’s 4 lengths
B) Banded Walk 1 lap
C) Tricep Banded Pull Down 8 reps
Working with a Partner, complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of:
Med ball Chest Pass – 1 length
5 Med Ball squats (partner rests)
5 lateral Med Ball Pass (each side)
Med bal chest pass 1 length