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Senior Obesity and the Preventive Power of Exercise

Mark Huntsman
By Mark HuntsmanJanuary 28, 2015
Senior Obesity and the Preventive Power of Exercise

The dangers of obesity in seniors are even greater in number than in the rest of the population. Indeed, seniors bear most of the burden of obesity in terms of the chronic diseases and physical limitations associated with it (like diabetes and high blood pressure). But, there are solutions.

Senior Obesity and the Preventive Power of Exercise

Let’s explore the growing number of obesity-fighting solutions that are available to seniors and their caregivers.

Facts about Seniors and Obesity

A recent report from the National Institute on Aging presents some hard-to-face numbers: nearly 75% of men over age 64 and roughly 65% of older women are defined as overweight or obese.

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In an article entitled “Elderly getting fatter, more apt for chronic diseases,” Crump Senior Center assistant director Karen Whatley, remarks that she’s already begun to see a heavier set of seniors:

“It is a big fear with the seniors, that they won’t have anybody to take care of them. If they are large, they need help sitting down, standing up, getting around. They don’t want to inconvenience anyone, especially their children.”

As things stand, obesity is already a primary factor in most assisted living admissions. When an obese individual becomes an older adult, there’s less muscle mass to carry the extra weight, and consequently they start to become sedentary. Family members often struggle to move them around to care for them, making assisted living a necessity.

So what’s a senior struggling with obesity to do?

Obesity: Creating More Health Risks

We all know that obesity is dangerously unhealthy over the long term. But, it’s not just the physical handicap on the human body.

As if those added risks weren’t enough, moderate to severe obesity also dramatically increases your risk of contracting a host of different chronic diseases. Namely:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Slips and falls
  • Arthritis
  • Back and joint pain
  • Impaired mobility

Healthy Senior Living

The bad news is that when you set out to fight or prevent obesity, you find yourself faced with a dizzying array of diet, exercise and lifestyle choices.

The good news is that when you set out to fight obesity, you’re certain to find solutions that work well for you. It may take some experimentation, and some amount of trial and error is to be expected, but if you persist, you willfind exercises and eating habits that will make you healthier and happier.

Let’s take a look at some of the aerobic exercise choices available to seniors today:

  1. Traditional aerobics
  2. Water aerobics
  3. Yoga
  4. Boot Camp
  5. Light swimming
  6. Leisurely bike riding
  7. Walking and/or light jogging

While we’re focusing today on exercise options that can help you or the seniors in your life combat or prevent obesity, making healthy dietary choices are also obviously of the utmost importance. To learn more about building a healthy nutritional plan, we encourage you to check out “7 Heart-Healthy Shopping Tips for Seniors,” as well as “Why Seniors Have Different Nutritional Needs.”

Connecting with Local and Online Resources

Do you have exercise and weight loss goals, or would like help setting them? You’re not alone.

The truth is, most seniors who are battling obesity need support in order to have and sustain long-term success. Fortunately, there are a growing number of local and online resources dedicated to helping seniors become active and get fit, including:

Do you have any senior weight loss tips or any suggestions for eating healthier that you’d like to share with us? Be sure to post your suggestion in the comments below.

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Mark Huntsman
Mark Huntsman

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