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Did Your New Year’s Resolutions Include Losing Weight? Here’s Some Motivation to Make it Happen.

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According to Statistic Brain, the #1 resolution for most people is to lose weight. If you’re one of the millions of people trying to lose weight his year, congratulations! Losing weight can go a long way in improving your overall health and well-being.

Your risk for many diseases will drop

According to the National Institutes of Health, being overweight can greatly raise your risk of many diseases. Shedding those extra pounds can, in many cases, immediately cut your risk for:

Coronary heart disease
High blood pressure
Stroke
Diabetes
Osteoarthritis
Some cancers

You’ll be less prone to injury

In a study conducted by Ohio State University, researchers discovered that the higher a person’s body mass index (BMI), the more likely they were to have an injury, such as a fall. Falls account for over 70 percent of ER visits for older adults and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are the leading cause of injury in the elderly.

Your brain health will improve

In a study of obese people conducted at Kent State University, study participants were divided into two groups – one had gastric bypass surgery, the other didn’t. After 12 weeks, both groups took a set of memory tests, similar to ones taken before the study began. The surgery patients, who lost an average of 50 pounds, showed improvement in a number of cognitive abilities, including memory. Those who had not had the surgery – and who did not lose weight – showed a mild decline in memory. Additionally, obesity has been shown to be one of the risk factors in developing Alzheimer’s disease.

You’ll get a better night’s sleep

Obesity raises your risk factor for sleep disorders, including apnea, one of the most serious. Sleep disorders generally result in a lack of restful sleep, which produces more of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you hungry. The hungrier you are, the more you eat, which, in turn, decreases your chance of having a good night’s sleep – a vicious circle. By losing weight, you’ll sleep better, increasing your chances of being less hungry. If you’re less hungry, you’ll eat less. If you eat less, you may lose weight.

You’ll have more energy

Imagine having to carry a 30-pound box of weights around all day. Being 30 pounds overweight has a similar effect, which includes being exhausted by the energy it takes to carry those extra pounds around. Shedding those pounds means your body has to work less hard, freeing up all kinds of energy – to do whatever your heart desires!

You may save money

Because of the greater risk of disease among people who are obese, their medical bills tend to be higher than those of people of normal weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person who’s obese has medical costs $1,429 higher per year than someone who maintains a normal weight.

So how does one go about losing weight? In addition to eating more consciously and choosing healthier foods, exercise is not only a great way to lose weight, it provides its own health benefits.

The necessity for exercise increases as we grow older

The older you get, the more important exercise becomes. Seniors need to exercise more than their younger counterparts because they are at greater risk for the diseases that exercise can prevent, which include heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, among others. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise protects the body against chronic diseases, improves mood and lowers your chance of injury.

It’s never too late to start living more healthfully

It’s best to start an exercise program as early in life as possible. But research has shown that even when started late in life, exercise provides amazing benefits. British researchers conducted a study of seniors’ activity level over the course of eight years. They discovered that those who were active at the start of the study and remained so throughout the eight years had the lowest incidence of chronic diseases, memory loss and physical disability. Those who were sedentary at the start of the study and who started an exercise program and sustained it throughout the study did nearly as well, achieving a sevenfold decrease in their risk of becoming ill or frail compared to those who remained inactive throughout the length of the study.

A little effort makes a big difference

The good news is that even moderate exercise provides benefits. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that as little as 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (which can be as simple as walking) three times a week may reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 60 percent. In another study involving seniors from age 72 to 98, subjects lifted leg weights three times a week for 10 weeks. At the end of the study, leg strength had increased by 113 percent! Strong legs help prevent falls, one of the main causes of injury among seniors.

Exercise is also good for the mind

Not only does exercise keep your brain from shrinking, it may also help ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s and other dementias. According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, physical exercise reduces your risk of developing the disease by 50 percent.

Categories: Senior Health