By Matt Evans
Losing weight at 60 years old and over can seem like a bit of a struggle. As you get older, it's no secret the infamous middle-aged spread becomes more pronounced, and even the best exercises for weight loss seem to reap less rewards.
What's more, the health problems that come with being overweight, such as high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems, are also compounded with old age.
However, it's never too late to start. There's plenty of evidence showing people how best to start losing weight when you're over 60, including loads of healthy eating, diet and exercise solutions. Here's a few of our favorite science-backed tips.
Lose weight over 60: Try intermittent fasting
One study published by researchers from Poland looked at 45 women over 60 years old who took part in a six-week intermittent fasting challenge. None of the women ate any food from 8pm at night to 12pm the following day, consuming their usual amount of calories in that eight0hour window.
The research found the participant's body weight decreased by an average of 2kg, and it was all natural fat loss rather than decreased muscle or skeletal mass. If you eat a healthy lunch, dinner and snacks in between, sticking to an eight-hour window can help you drop weight fast.
Lose weight over 60: Eat more protein
It's no secret as you age, your metabolism declines, which helps contribute to weight gain when you eat starchy carbohydrates and lots of sugar. This is also a gateway to adult type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues.
You can keep your metabolism active by eating more protein. As opposed to carbohydrates, which are easy for the body to break down and store as fat, protein sources have a high "thermic effect", which means it's much more difficult for your body to break down into usable stuff. You're using more calories just during the digestion phase to break down your steak, chicken, oats or even the best protein powder for weight loss.
In addition, proteins are the building blocks of muscle. The better your muscle-to-fat ratio, the easier weight loss is going to be. You're probably tempted to continue walking to lose weight or running. While this is a great way to get your exercise, adding some resistance training with weights or bands, coupled with eating more protein, will gain you a better muscle-to-fat ratio, helping you keep weight off in the long term.
Lose weight over 60: Stretch more
As we age, the tendons in our muscles naturally contract, so we're not as mobile as we once were. This can range from feeling a bit stiff after a jog, all the way to struggling to rise from a chair, which is an indicator your core muscles need a bit of work. Alongside the best workouts for abs, doing stretches regularly is a great way to improve mobility.
Stretching is a natural way to fight against this process by lengthening the muscles. Although the act of stretching itself won't help you lose weight, regular stretching will keep you active and limber well into old age.
The better your mobility, the more active you can be every day, which is a key factor in losing weight as you age. Studies show five days of moderate physical activity a week could prevent over 3.2 million early deaths worldwide. Check out our beginner's guide to stretching for more information.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website.
Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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