I am 59...very close to 60. I have gained about 30 pounds and can't seem to get the weight off. I have gone through menopause and need ideas for what exercises I should be doing, diet that will help boost my metabolism. Can you help me?

Many women approaching 50 and 60 years old will gain weight, and some attribute the weight gain to menopause. While menopause does contribute somewhat to increased fat in the abdominal area, most research points to midlife weight gain being related to a combination of decreased physical activity and increased caloric intake. Aging and lifestyle contribute to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well as osteoporosis. The best way to combat these risk factor’s are to maintain a healthy diet along with an exercise program that includes cardiovascular exercise, flexibility and strength.

As we age there is a natural decrease in muscle mass and increase in body fat. The decrease in muscle mass contributes to the decrease in metabolic rate, therefore increasing the likelihood of weight gain if adjustments aren’t made in diet and exercise to account for a lower caloric requirement.

Exercise increases muscle mass, therefore, increasing metabolic rate. However, since muscle weighs more than fat, you may not see a decrease in your overall body weight when you begin a strength training program. That is why it is important to assess your strength, cardiovascular health, body fat percentage and body weight when looking at your overall health.

As I mentioned earlier, osteoporosis, is also a risk factor for many women of your age. Once you have been cleared by your physician to increase your physical activity and begin a supervised strength training program. It is important to do exercises that are low-impact in nature. Such exercises include: walking and weight training as well as balance and flexibility training to reduce the incidence of falling.

Whatever activity you choose to do, make sure you have properly warmed up and have been given proper instruction so you do not injure yourself.

Get started today and do something fun and active EVERYDAY!!

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