#1: Move more
Set your day up so there is a foundation of movement, which helps control weight. With a “move more” mindset, you will naturally see more opportunities for moving your body – walking at lunch time, a flight of stairs, parking at the edges of a parking lot, and even house and garden work. Get a pedometer or fitness tracking and see how many steps you are getting each day. Then set a goal to get 10% more.
#2: Do strength training
Since we lose muscle as we age (starting as early as our 30’s), doing what we can to maintain and build lean muscle is important. It helps keep our body’s metabolism as high as possible. Lifting weights, using weight machines and resistance bands, doing body weight exercises, and practicing yoga are types of strength training. Be sure to hit the major muscle groups (e.g. torso, legs, shoulders) to get the biggest boost. At Strand Fitness, we recommend minimally twice a week.
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#3: Get your heart rate up
Aerobic conditioning is important as you age. It helps control cholesterol, blood pressure, and even mental functioning. But it also helps maintain your weight. Studies show that aerobic exercise is a regular habit of people who lose weight and keep it off. The American Heart Association recommends accumulating at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise over the course of the week. With more developed fitness levels, shoot for 75 minutes at a higher intensity. (Be sure to check in with your medical professional before starting a fitness program.)
#4: Evaluate your hunger
It is easy to get used to eating a certain amount of food each day without even thinking about whether you are hungry or not. Eating without being hungry or keep going when you are full will likely lead to weight gain. Taking stock now can help you adjust your portions or calorie intake before the extra pounds show up. Experiment for two weeks. Trying serving yourself smaller portions, only eat when you are truly hungry, stop when you are 80% full, or skip a meal here or there. See how you feel; watch for the results. Making small changes can make a big difference over time.
#5: Resolve sleep issues
Lack of high quality sleep disrupts so many things in our bodies. Not only do you lose mental efficiency, being sleep deprived can cause you to consume more calories than normal. Sleep deprivation negatively affects the balance of hormones that regulate hunger and fullness. The button that says “eat” is more readily turned on. And the “off” switch is slow to be activated. Don’t count on will power to control your eating. Biology tends to beat will power most every time.
#6: Master managing your stress
Chronic stress can lead to weight gain. When we are stressed, we tend to reach for fattening food – food that is high in sugar and fat. Chronic stress also triggers the production of cortisol, which increases appetite and motivation levels – including the motivation to eat. Self-care tends to go on the back burner during stressful times – e.g., skipping exercise, losing sleep, maintaining a healthy diet. It is a perfect storm that creates the environment for weight gain.
At Strand Fitness, you have your own personal coach helping you put healthy habits into action. Exercise, nutrition, getting the right amount of sleep, and keeping negative stress in check are all essential strategies for being a stronger and healthier you! And for keeping the weight off as you age!
#7: Remember – it is easier to keep it off than take it off
If being proactive in managing your weight sounds like a bore, remember that it is easier to keep the weight off than it is to take it off. Set up a tracking system for yourself. Record your weight and take your body measurements (e.g., circumference of your chest, waist, hips, and legs) at regular intervals, pick an article of clothing and monitor how it fits, or take a photo of yourself in the same place every quarter (full body length) with tight fitting clothing (like workout clothes). These are great ways to stay aware of how your weight changes so you can be proactive in making adjustments.
Strand Fitness is a fitness training center specializing in what it takes to be stronger and healthier as you age.
We are located in Downtown Wheaton, IL. We also serve Glen Ellyn, Winfield, Carol Stream and Chicago Western Suburbs.
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Build a stronger and healthier you at Strand Fitness!