Believe it or not, if you’re over 50 and are disconcerted with that tire growing around your waist, it is normal to age and get fat. There are things you can do.
There’s a crisis at getting fat as you age. Suddenly fat begins showing where it never appeared before. Sizes rise and appearance seems to enlarge in all the wrong places. The human body is made up of fat, lean tissue (muscles and organs), bones, and water. After age 30, people tend to lose lean tissue. Your muscles, liver, kidney, and other organs may lose some of their cells. This process of muscle loss is called atrophy. These changes result in changes in function and in appearance. It is normal to age and get fat but it’s very difficult or impossible to prevent. Diets may only help marginally. Atrophy has an enemy. It is activity. All those cell losses reduce your energy levels as your body gets fat.
The bulk of the population have a common disease where it is normal to age and get fat. It is called Sarcopenia and is a condition that is virtually impossible to cure. Sarcopenia affects millions of people who gradually become weak and frail as they age due to loss of muscle mass.
While not everyone has Sarcopenia, research does show that it is closely associated with the process that is normal to age and get fat. In Sarcopenia, it is the severity.
Starting and following through with an exercise program might help control the progression of fat and Sarcopenia but it won’t cure it. Sarcopenia develops rapidly with a lack of physical activity, especially the lack of overload to the muscle, as in resistance exercise. The amount of physical activity generally declines with age. Physically inactive adults will see a faster and greater loss of muscle mass than physically active adults. The problem is that the loss of muscle mass reduces the metabolic production of energy. The results include developed intolerance of exercise that is all too real. It is not fear. It is a form of myopathy.
In most myopathies, weakness occurs primarily in the muscles of the shoulders, upper arms, thighs, and pelvis (proximal muscles). The symptoms are capped by general fatigue because muscles and energy production efficiency are closely associated. Other symptoms may include aching, cramping, stiffness, tenderness, tightness, and pain.
Sarcopenia and myopathies ARE NOT always present as people get fat with age. It is normal to age and get fat and Sarcopenia or myopathy may be fundamentally associated with symptoms. That is why exercise is extremely important over age 30 for those who not have chronic diseases. such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and myasthenia gravis, among others.
There are other subtle conditions associated with weight gain. These include an underactive thyroid gland (which can also cause weight gain despite eating less, intolerance to cold, constipation and dry skin) and diabetes (other symptoms include needing to pass water more often, feeling thirsty and recurrent minor infections like boils and thrush). Several medications can also lead to tiredness – beta-blocker tablets for heart conditions and antidepressant tablets are top of the average doctor’s list. Stress often leads to tiredness, but so too can symptoms of depression. Believe it or not, among aging individuals, weight gain is a cause for depression. Depressing generally reduces activity.
In the case of coping with the symptoms of normal muscle loss, changing habits from inactive to active is extremely difficult. For most, walking can help a lot. As you get older, your metabolic rate – the rate at which your body burns energy – will probably slow. Adjust your meal size and make a resolution to do a brisk daily walk of 20-30 minutes – just a 10% loss in weight will reduce the fat inside your tummy up to 30%! That means, if you are 200 pounds, you will lose about 30% of belly fat if you reach 180. If you’re 150, you may lose 30% belly fat when you reach 135 pounds. Doing so, however, requires a persistent, gradual habits that may be contrary to your known lifestyle.
Once you get over the “work effort” associated with exercise, you will find that you feel better because the body releases endorphins that help pick you up. For most normal people, exercise makes you feel better, perform physical tasks better and reduce the risk of disability due to arthritis. It now appears that exercise – specifically, resistance training – actually rejuvenates muscle tissue in healthy senior citizens. Resistance training doesn’t necessarily mean joining a gym and hoisting weights. There are rubber stretch bands. They are normally called Therabands and are used by many physical therapists. Like walking, these exercises must be approached in graduated steps.
As you evolve, Yoga and Seniors is a gaining partnership for overall conditioning and stretching. There are many community centers that offer free classes. It is recommended that you work towards 3 classes per week.
Of course, the process that is normal to age and get fat leaves muscles tense, stiff, and painful. Senior citizens should seek out massage therapy from a certified therapist or acupuncture. None near you? Try to find a nearby school that teaches massage and acupuncture.
According to WebMD, People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you will still experience some muscle loss. If you are 60, you may have lost about 15% of lean muscle because it is normal to age and get fat. The lean muscle you lost helped make you look trim because muscle fibers kept your fat from showing.
If you are aging and reminisce about times when you were thin and strong, remember how normal it is to age and get fat. Lifestyle changes help but it’s all in the routine. That’s the most difficult thing. The hardest part is starting. After a few repetitions, it does get easier and your body will be trimmer. Just give it time. It took years to grow.