Regular exercise can promote weight loss, even after 50.
Losing weight requires a gradual approach and maintainable lifestyle changes. Although metabolism slows down with age, it's not impossible to lose weight after 50. A healthy diet and regular exercise can do the trick. The latter stimulates muscle tissue, giving your metabolism that much-needed boost, so you burn calories and lose weight. You'll look and feel better, and reduce your risk of age-related health conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis.
Create a Caloric Deficit
A daily deficit of 500 calories is sufficient to trigger weight loss without sacrificing essential nutrients. This deficit can come from calories burned through exercise, and from calories reduced from food. Keep track of how many calories you eat on a daily basis to maintain your current weight. Then subtract 500 calories from this total to determine how many calories you should eat to lose weight. Helpguide.org recommends that older females generally consume anywhere from 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day, and older males consume between 2,000 and 2,800 calories a day.
Eat Healthy Foods
In addition to helping you lose weight, a sensible diet keeps your body healthy and your mind sharp. Avoid skipping meals, and eat smaller portions consisting of the basic food groups -- include complex carbs and fiber from veggies, fruits, and whole grains; consume protein from fish, beans, and nuts; consume low-fat dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, to get a daily dose of bone-strengthening calcium. Salt, sugar and simple carbs, such as white bread and white rice, should be limited. Also, consider taking a multivitamin, or eating fortified foods to get a daily dose of vitamin B and vitamin D.
Increase Physical Activity
Cardiovascular activities raise your heart rate and burn calories. The Weight-Control Information Network recommends that older adults perform 150 minutes of cardio a week at an intensity during which you can still speak, but not have a long conversation. Start with a 10-minute cardio session a day, and as your fitness improves, slowly increase the duration or add more sessions over the day, until you reach the recommended cardio amount. Cardio can include a brisk walk, dancing, water aerobics or tennis for seniors, climbing stairs, rowing, bicycling, or heavy housework and gardening.
Strengthen Your Muscles
Experts recommend that older adults perform muscle-strengthening exercises on at least two days of the week. In addition to stimulating muscle tissue and promoting weight loss, resistance training can increase your strength and improve balance, which reduces your risk of falling. Schedule your exercise sessions on nonconsecutive days, so your muscles have enough time to recover between workouts. Exercises can include squatting by sitting on a chair and getting back up, standing pushups against a wall, calf raises and leg curls while holding onto a sturdy object for support, biceps curls, step-ups, side hip raises, leg extensions while sitting in a chair, shoulder presses, back extensions, and pelvic tilts.
Things to Consider
Before making dietary changes, or starting a cardio and strength-training routine, consult your doctor to ensure that your chosen regimen is safe for your physical condition. When exercising, always start with a warm up of at least five minutes of low-intense cardio, and end with a cool down in a similar fashion. The latter can also include light stretching. During strength training, begin with one set of 10 repetitions, and as you get stronger, take a one-minute rest period, and then add a second set. When using weights, slowly increase the resistance. Always use enough resistance so you can't do another repetition with good form after finishing a set.