Understanding Weight Loss and Aging (It’s not just you who can’t lose weight!)

by / Friday, 21 July 2017 / Published in Wellness
Weight loss and aging

We’ve all been there. You make an appointment for your annual physical only to become painfully aware that your progress on last year’s advice — lose some weight and get in shape — has been a bit…slow.

Unfortunately for all of us, the older you get, the harder it becomes to lose weight. But that’s no reason to give up. In fact, weight loss is just one of many health benefits you can look forward to when you become more physically active.

The Ins-and-Outs of Fitness and Older Adults

Understanding how your body and metabolism change as you age can help your efforts to manage your weight. As you age, muscle mass decreases and body fat increases. Since fat burns fewer calories than muscle, you’ll need fewer calories to maintain your current weight.1 Less muscle mass means slower metabolism, so losing weight is tougher, too.2

OK…that’s terrible news. But, it’s all good from here on out!

So What Can You Do About Weight Loss and Aging?

First and foremost, EXERCISE! You don’t have to run a marathon, but you do have to move. First, talk to your doctor about any precautions you should take or types of activities you should avoid.

The best approach for most of us is to start slowly. The National Institute on Aging recommends building up to at least 30 minutes of activity that makes you breathe hard on most or all days of the week. Every day is best. And, you don’t have to be active for 30 minutes all at once. Ten minutes at a time is fine.

It’s also important to include exercises to build muscles and strength, improve your balance, and increase your flexibility.

Why Exercise?

Let’s be honest, unless you’re living under a rock, you already know about the many benefits of regular exercise. If, like me, you still have a hard time getting motivated, it’s time for the heavy persuasion. Here are some additional, lesser-known, benefits of regular physical activity:

Make Your yearly Physical a Brag Session with SilverSneakers®

Alright. Let’s assume you’re totally sold on getting fit and making this year’s physical the one where you report some actual progress. Now what?

If you’re a member of Keystone 65 HMO or Personal Choice 65SM PPO, you’re eligible for SilverSneakers at no additional cost beyond their monthly premium. Nice, right? But it’s more than a free gym membership. There are more than 13,000 gyms to choose from and you can take exclusive, members-only fitness classes at any one of them.

To find fitness locations, request your SilverSneakers ID card, enroll in FLEX classes, or get additional details, visit silversneakers.com or call 1-888-423-4632 (TTY: 711), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

1 Mayo Clinic. Healthy Aging. Accessed June 30, 2017.
2 Weintraub, Karen. “Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You’re Older?” The New York Times. Accessed June 30, 2017.


Note: SilverSneakers® Fitness Program is provided by Tivity Health Inc.TM © 2017, an independent company
Independence Blue Cross offers Medicare Advantage plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Independence Medicare Advantage plans depends on contract renewal.


As content development manager at IBX, I have the good luck to work with a team of talented, smart people who share my interest in health, fitness, and nutrition. Recently, I completed my first half marathon and set a personal record in running this year’s Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

2 Responses to “Understanding Weight Loss and Aging (It’s not just you who can’t lose weight!)”

  1. This article has some GREAT recommendations in it. I would point out, however, that when it comes to weight loss exercise is really only about 20% or less of that equation. You’ve heard the saying — you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Without first addressing what we eat, and getting control over our HABITS, exercise efforts will be in vain. I work with older adults quite a bit in my coaching practice and once we address their nutrition and start then on a healthy eating plan that stabilizes their blood sugar and has them eating foods that are of high quality nutritional composition, their weight comes off quite easily. Exercise is then added to build muscle mass, improve balance and flexibility, and strengthen their heart. Exercise for HEALTH, but EAT right for weight loss.

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