According to research, the best way to lose weight after 40 is as simple as changing diet and buffing up a few workouts during the week. So, even though many people believe they will succumb to an expanding waistline after 40, this is not as inevitable as they think.
You Can Get Fit After 40
Yes, it’s a fact that in general people tend to gain extra pounds as they get older until about age 55. Then weight starts to decrease states Jan Bresnick, Gloria McVeigh and Linda Rao in Prevention‘s article “Fat to Firm at 40-Plus: How to Regain Control of Your Weight in the Middle Years.” Women especially fear that the hormonal changes through menopause will guarantee extra flab that will turn their hourglass figures into a bowl of relentless flab that will cling tightly to their waist. Men are not excluded from an expanding waistline. After 40, many typically begin to notice an expansion of the notorious potbelly.
Though the phenomenon of the middle age spread is evident in society, it is not inevitable, neither for men nor for women. Health experts argue that while hormones do play a part with increasing weight gain as people age, for the most part expanding fat around the middle has more to do with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle as people age rather than hormonal changes.
Brian Walsh, M.D., director of the menopause clinic at Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston states, “Whenever we’ve done studies where women take estrogen or a placebo, both groups have gained equal amounts of weight.” The studies reveal that much of the slowdown in metabolism that occurs as people age more likely happens because of lowered activity levels.
Staying Fit After 40
People are becoming healthier and staying in shape longer according to David Kirsch, founder of The Madison Square Club in New York City and author of the book Sound Mind, Sound Body as quoted in Joe Weider’s Muscle and Fitness article “Tips to Staying Fit and Strong After 40.” “People in their 40s and older are just as strong and certainly more body-intelligent. [They] know what [their] body can do.”
Forty is not as old as it used to be says Kirsch. He does warn, however, that an exercise plan for people after 40 who are considerably overweight, have high blood pressure or have a family history of medical problems need to see a doctor before starting any type of workout program.
Eat Smart, Exercise Smart and Lift Weights After 40
Many people don’t realize how many calories they’re eating. Karen Ansel in Prevention magazine’s article “The Right Way to Lose Weight After 40,” writes that people tend to believe they’re eating fewer calories than they’re actually consuming. A study of over 1,000 people, says Ansel, revealed that only 13 percent knew how many calories they eat each day.
“You don’t need to become a human calculator,” says Ansel, “but you should get a baseline idea of what you’re consuming every day.” One of the best ways to evaluate how well you’re counting calories is to jot down what you’re eating every day. Analyze where most of your calories are coming from and make healthier substitutions.
Research shows, says Ansel, that many people focus too much on grams of fat and sugar instead of calories, which can mislead them into eating more than they should. Be extra cautious with reduced-fat and low-sugar foods too. Sometimes the reduced-fat products have more calories than the original product. And don’t forget that sugar free doesn’t necessarily mean calorie free.
Awareness is key to watching how many calories you’re consuming whether you’re counting calories or following a healthy diet or food plan. Many experts argue the best way to lose weight boils down to simple math; eat fewer calories than you burn each day. But finding a diet or food plan that works and something you can live with permanently is also important.
Best Way to Lose Weight After 40
Exercise along with a good diet is essential for the best way to lose weight after 40, but it doesn’t stop with just cardio workouts. Resistance training, probably the most effective type of exercise, fights extra weight as you get older state Bresnick, McVeigh, and Rao. “Aerobic activities like walking, running and swimming burn calories only as long as you are doing them. But weight training can help increase your metabolism over the long haul by building metabolically active muscle.”
Resistance training helps your body continue to burn calories for hours after you’re done exercising. Women over 40 should focus more on lower body muscles because these are the “largest, weight-bearing muscles” and will burn more calories.
Losing weight and getting fit as you pass 40 is achievable by watching what you eat and getting aerobic and resistance training workouts regularly.
Ansel, Karen. “The Right Way to Lose Weight After 40.” Prevention.
Engel, Kathleen. “Tips to Staying Fig and Strong After 40.” Joe Weider’s Muscle and Fitness. June 2002, Vol. 63 Issue 6, p160.
Jan Bresnick, Gloria McVeigh, and Linda Rao. “Fat to Firm at 40-Plus: How to Regain Control of Your Weight in the Middle Years.” Prevention. August 1994. Vol 46, p59.