There is nothing like ‘you are too old’ or ‘it is too late’ for you to look and feel good. However, it often feels as if there is no way around the weight gain that comes along with getting older. Despite the crop tops, anti-aging creams, or fidget spinners that we buy, the waist size just seems to grow alongside the number of our age.
Belly fat stands in the way of feeling good in terms of overall health as well as self-esteem. The good news is that you can easily tackle belly fat and get your ‘sexy’ back on.
What causes belly fat in seniors?
As you get into your senior years, your body starts gaining extra inches in your belly for different reasons. Although you do not need to just simply accept increased belly fat as an often consequence of aging.
Some of the reasons as to why you accrue belly fat include:
- Poor diet
In your younger years, your metabolism could process poor food choices more quickly than it can in older years. As you age, foods commonly referred to as ‘junk’ which include beer, fried foods, and processed snacks, tend to affect your waistline differently. These foods are known to cause sharp spikes in your blood sugar and thus raising triglyceride levels which in turn leads to more fat stored around your waist.
- Decreased activity and metabolism
Most people tend to cut back on physical activity as they get older. This means your metabolic rate drops as well thus the body burns fewer calories overall. Where you do not strength-train as you grow older, the amount of your muscle mass declines. This leaves you with fattier body composition which tends to accumulate in your waistline, showing up as belly fat.
- Hormone dips
Women generally store more fat in their butts, thighs, and hips to support breastfeeding and pregnancy. But when menopause creeps as a result of aging, estrogen levels decline and fat is redistributed to the waistline.
Similarly, aging in men lowers their levels of testosterone. Low levels of testosterone are linked to increased body fat.
Why is belly fat dangerous?
Having excess fat in your body is one of the leading causes of major diseases. Excess belly fat can increase the risk of:
- Heart attacks
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Colon cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Breast cancer
How do you get rid of that belly fat?
Apart from belly fat being a nuisance that makes your clothes feel tight, it is seriously harmful as well. Though losing fat from this area can prove difficult, there are several things that you can do to reduce excess abdominal fat. These include:
- Improve your diet
Your plan to lose belly fat should begin with fixing what you eat and allowing natural weight loss to progress. Eating a healthy balanced diet can help you lose weight and has a positive effect on your overall health. This can be encouraged by eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, complex carbohydrates, lean proteins while avoiding highly processed foods, sugars, and refined carbohydrates that have low nutritional content.
- Engage in exercise
Exercise is always important for fitness and general wellness. Include a good amount of exercise in your daily routine. Combine both cardiovascular and high-intensity training alongside weights and resistance training. Try 2 hours of moderate aerobic activity such as walking or cycling on 2 or more days a week. This helps burn the extra calories in your body. Strength exercises such as weight lifting will work all the major muscles including your abdomen, giving you a flat tummy.
- Do not skip meals
Skipping meals make your body respond by raising cortisol levels, increasing your appetite, and storing fat around your abdomen. To help increase your metabolism and prevent fat storage, consume small meals and snacks throughout the day as a way to control your cravings.
- Reduce your stress
When you are stressed, your body produces the stress hormone, cortisol, which influences your appetite causing you to eat more. This drives up abdominal fat storage. To help you reduce belly fat, avoid stress by engaging in pleasurable activities such as meditation and yoga.
- Sleep well
Sleep is very important in weight management. Little or poor sleep has been known to alter hormone production, adversely affecting your cortisol levels. Try and get ample sleep time to allow your body to rest. Taking a hot shower before bedtime as well as laying in a comfortable mattress helps.
For seniors, the struggle to lose belly fat may not sound like fun. For one, it is most likely that over the years, your eating habits have been established, and changing them now may seem like a daunting task. Or you may now find it more of a challenge to keep fit even though you may have managed over the years.
However, weight loss requires commitment, effort, and perseverance. Adopting a healthy diet and an active lifestyle can help you lose excess belly fat as well as lowering the medical risks associated with it.