Tom Bradley writes…Weight loss for men over 50 is tougher than it is for their younger counterparts. Even among men with a life-long history of healthy activity staying trim can become a baffling battle.
In a Berkeley Lab study involving 4,769 male runners under the age of 50 the question of whether vigorous exercise can prevent weight gain with age the conclusion was that waist-line expansion is almost a force of nature. Those who exercise will be leaner than sedentary individuals but even devoted athletes will find it increasingly difficult to remain sleek.
The outlook for men over the age of 50 is similar, at least around the waist. Studying a second set of 2,150 male runners (all over the age of 50) found that men over the age of 50 appear to gradually lose muscle mass and weight as the years pass.
More than the frustration of thickening up through the mid-section, fat build up around the waist can invite serious health consequences. Interestingly, the study mentioned above suggested increased activity to promote weight loss for men over 50 but really didn’t spend any time reflecting on the practicality of finding the time required for the increased exercise.
Men over 50 are typically at the busiest time of their lives. Work and family responsibilities, often spreading over two generations by this time, and adding even modest amounts of time to daily schedule is not realistic.
The answer of course is that the problem can not be solved only by increasing activity. Healthy activity should be part of the lives of men over 50, and this argument assumes that is taking place. The study, however, spoke of substantial increases in activity levels and still not being able to reverse thickening waist lines.
Weight gain with age happens because as we age we lose lean muscle mass. With the loss of lean muscle mass, all other factors being equal, our RMR, or resting metabolic rate, decreases too. This is part of the physiological changes that take place as we age that make weight loss for men over 50 an increasing challenge.
The solution is in nutrition. It is possible for men over 50 to build lean muscle mass and the key is feeding the body what it needs. The habits built up over the previous fifty or more years probably won’t promote the creation and maintenance of lean muscle mass even in men who have been attentive to their diet and nutrition.
Since metabolism in men over 50 slows, basic caloric intake should be reduced as well. There is not a “one size fits all” solution to this calculation because it depends on current weight and activity level. consulting with a personal wellness coach to determine your personal numbers and map out a plan is the best way to get the fastest results.
Maintaining lean muscle mass through nutrition and ongoing healthy activity is the way men over 50 can support a trim and healthy physique.
Tom Bradley is a personal wellness coach who happens to be over 50, but consults with anyone who wants to improve wellness or lose weight through nutrition.
Get timely articles and updates about men’s health issues from Tom’s Men’s Health Newsletter or visit his blog at www.bvhgnutrition.com. Comments and experiences are always welcome on the blog.
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