September is Healthy Aging Month
By Dr. Stephanie Page, Medical Director for the Metabolic Medical Weight Loss Program at Danbury Hospital
Healthy aging refers to the continuous process of making lifestyle improvements to keep you physically and mentally healthy throughout life.
Can you lose weight at any age? Absolutely! Remember: Only a 5-10% weight loss has been shown to improve overall health!
As we age, the process may become a bit slower due to a few factors, such as a lower metabolic rate, lower muscle mass (men and women lose muscle mass as they age), and physical impairments such as osteoarthritis and joint pain that some may experience.
Even if the process becomes a bit slower, it does not mean it is impossible!
Here are five tips to help your approach to weight loss as we get older:
- Get regular check-ups and yearly physicals.
- Stay Social! Don’t be afraid to make new friends and see old ones, too! A sedentary lifestyle can lead to isolation, depression, and other health issues.
- Keep your mind active. Read new books, find a hobby you love (ideally outside of your normal routine), complete a puzzle, play chess, or engage in arts and crafts. When we stimulate our mind, we lower our risk of developing dementia.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Focus on wholesome food. “Eat the rainbow” with a variety of non-starchy vegetables (above ground vegetables), low glycemic fruit (berries, apples, orange, melon), and have adequate protein with each meal (eggs, turkey, chicken, fish, meats, tofu/tempeh). You can also include healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts/seeds) for added flavor and texture.
- Move your body. Always discuss physical activity with your doctor, especially if you are not already active. It’s important to start with slow, low-impact activities to help your body adjust. Exercise can be as simple as walking 10 to 15 minutes up to three or four times a week (and increasing your time as you progress!). Consider adding in light weight and resistance bands to help preserve and build lean muscle mass at the same time. If you are age 65 and older and enrolled in Medicare, you may qualify for free online and in person training through the silver sneakers program. Click here to learn more: Silver Sneakers
If you have additional questions about bariatric or metabolic weight loss services, contact the office at (203) 852-2111 (TTY/accessibility (800) 421-1220).