Weight loss: Why you can start losing weight now, even if you're 60 or over

New weight loss research has found over-60s can lose weight with lifestyle changes just as well as younger people

Over 60 exercise
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Losing weight, especially those trying to break a lifetime's habit, can feel especially daunting as you get older. Losing a significant amount of weight is hard enough to do in your twenties and thirties, but when you're over 60, it can certainly feel like an impossible task. 

However, don't stress: one new study from the University of Warwick found it's just as possible to lose weight in your sixties as it is in your twenties. No special tricks or fads required. 

The study, published in the scientific journal Clinical Endocrinology, randomly selected 242 patients who attended a Warwickshire obesity and diabetes clinic between 2005 and 2016. 

The study divided these patients into two groups (over and under 60 years old) and examined their weight loss progress using lifestyle interventions. No diet pills or surgery: just encouragement to exercise alongside dietary and psychological support.

The study's authors found when compared, the two groups lost an equivalent amount of weight, with those aged 60 years and over reducing their body weight by an average of 7.3%. The under-60s had an average body weight reduction of 6.9%, so a pretty even split, and both groups spent a similar amount of time with the obesity clinic.

Senior man exercising

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The study's lead author, Dr Thomas Barber of Warwick Medical School, told ScienceDaily:  "Weight loss is important at any age, but as we get older we're more likely to develop the weight-related co-morbidities of obesity.

"Age should be no barrier to lifestyle management of obesity. Rather than putting up barriers to older people accessing weight loss programmes, we should be proactively facilitating that process."

It's never too late to start making a change. However, when beginning a weight loss programme at an older age, there's a few things to bear in mind. For one thing, your body isn't as resilient as it was, which means mobility and joint health must be taken into account. To start with, opt for exercise that won't hurt your joints, like walking, swimming or one of the best elliptical machines, over high-impact sports like running.  

We have stacks of weight loss content here on Fit&Well, from choosing the right diet for you, all the way to advice on beginner workouts and the best exercise machines to lose weight. A selection of our best "get started" articles can be found below: