Residing in senior living in Rancho Mirage means you get to discover a healthier version of yourself. That is because senior living prioritizes wellness. Old age places you at high-risk for developing several diseases, such as heart disease and arthritis.
If you are not careful with your lifestyle choices, you may even come down with a lifestyle disease commonly battled by older adults–obesity.
Eating comfort foods and snacks is never a sin. But when it becomes too much and uncontrollable, partnered by unhealthy lifestyle habits, that’s when it becomes a problem.
Here’s everything you need to know about obesity in seniors and how you can avoid it.
What is Obesity?
Obesity refers to a health condition that people acquire by overeating, specifically fats and sugars, without burning the calories through physical activity. It can also be caused by the combination of inherited genes and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors.
Obesity is characterized by an excessive buildup of fats in the body. It is not just a concern regarding physical appearance; it’s a medical one. Seniors who have obesity have an increased risk of developing other chronic illnesses, such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease and stroke
- Gallbladder problems
- Several types of cancers
- Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety
- Mental complications in memory, comprehension, and decision-making.
- Breathing disorders like sleep apnea
- Difficulties in physical functions.
These diseases might be expected in most seniors, but they become worse and progress rapidly with obesity in the equation. Further, obesity leads to a low-quality of life and a high mortality rate for seniors.
How to Prevent Obesity?
According to NIH, 35% of seniors aged 65 and above have obesity–in crude numbers, that’s over 8 million older adults. If you are a fellow senior struggling to maintain a healthy weight, don’t worry. It is never too late to combat obesity and prevent it altogether. All you need to do is adapt these five healthy lifestyle habits.
1. Engage in Regular Physical Activity
Many seniors suffer from obesity because of a lack of regular physical activity. Typically, elderlies living alone or in senior homes don’t have the energy or motivation to be active. Thus, spending many mornings and afternoons on the couch.
However, the best senior living in Rancho Mirage should encourage older adults to stay physically active. First, because exercise burns off excess calories and dangerous fat (visceral fat) in your body. Second, it helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight appropriate for your age.
The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of mild to moderate aerobic activity like walking and jogging every week. Also, you can add two times a week strength exercises in there, such as gardening, cycling, or stair climbing.
2. Combine Exercise with Proper Diet
Regular exercise achieves nothing without a proper diet. These two should go hand-in-hand, especially if you want to avoid a severe disease like obesity.
Further, you should focus on low-calorie yet nutrient-rich foods so you can lose unnecessary weight but still get your body’s much-needed nutrients. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind when following a healthy eating plan:
- Put more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, beans, low-fat or fat-free dairy products onto your plate.
- Increase your protein intake so you do not lose muscle mass with bodyweight. Foods rich in protein include wild salmon, whole eggs, and grass-fed beef.
- Consume more of the “good” fats found in foods like salmon, avocado, tuna, and mackerel.
- Lay off of sugary foods, processed products, and fast foods. These meals have high amounts of trans fat, “bad” cholesterol, salt, and sugar–all of which are bad for your health.
- Replace carbonated drinks with water.
- Treat yourself to comfort food every once in a while. The key here is moderation and discipline.
Moreover, you can hire a nutritionist or ask the help of one in your senior living home. They can help you reach your daily dietary needs with meals to maintain a healthy weight.
3. Reduce Daily Stress
Several studies already proved the glaring connection between chronic stress and obesity. According to experts, when a person gets stressed, the body will release a substance called the glucocorticoid stress hormone.
This hormone will then set-off a chain of events in the body that will lead to the body using too much energy. As your energy level drops, your body will need to compensate, thus triggering your craving for sugary and high-calorie food.
This is what you call stress eating, which effectively gets your body energy back up but at the cost of amassing fats due to high-sugar intake.
Manage your stress to avoid doing these unhealthy eating behaviors. Calm your mind and body through yoga, meditation, or engaging in your favorite hobby.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation can lead to obesity in several ways. But the most common one is this: not getting enough sleep makes you extra tired the next day, making you eat a lot to compensate and skip exercise. Also, lack of sleep increases your chance of being easily stressed.
So, do yourself a favor and stick to the healthy sleeping schedule set by your senior living in Rancho Mirage.
5. Involve Your Doctor and Loved Ones
Social support benefits all individuals of all ages, including seniors. So, there’s no reason not to involve and get the support of your family, caregiver, and friends. They can help you reach your weight goal through encouragement, motivation, and companionship.
You can also get that much-needed support from your trusted health professionals, such as your caregiver, nurse, and doctor. They can recommend safe exercises and excellent diet plans that suit your age, fitness level, and health condition.
Besides, healthcare providers can suggest good weight loss programs that you can enroll in. Also, your caregiver in your senior living in Rancho Mirage can help you prepare healthy meals, exercise, meditate, and sleep early to prevent falling prey to obesity.
Lastly, never skip your doctor’s appointment. Visiting your GP regularly allows them to detect health risks like obesity. Thus, allowing you and your doctor to prevent it while it’s still in its earliest stage.