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A Little Extra Weight isn’t so bad for Elders

Good news out for those of us with a little extra padding on our hips and thighs: having a little excess weight isn’t necessarily harmful. Of course, that doesn’t mean that obesity or being severely overweight are goals to pursue, but it does mean that the number on the scale isn’t always the most important thing to look at. Far more important to long term health and happiness is maintaining activity levels and especially maintaining muscle. Older adults who are less active as they age are at a higher risk for injuries which can become serious issues. Even with a healthy body-weight on the scale, someone with less muscle and less flexibility is at risk for problems.

The CDC recommends at least 2 and a half hours of exercise a week, whether than be walking, jogging, aerobics, or weightlifting. In addition, they also recommend weightlifting twice a week to maintain muscle mass. Unfortunately, less than half of older adults meet these guidelines. Even if you or an elder relative are not as nimble and athletic as you once were when you were younger, it’s important to stay physically active and fit to keep our bodies healthy. It’s better to exercise and have a little extra weight on us, than it is to not exercise at all and stay thin.

Staying healthy and keeping track of a fulfilling and nutritious diet goes a long way towards improving quality of life for elders. Although it may at first be a challenge to change some deeply-set habits like fast food eating or not exercising, the benefits greatly outweigh the annoyance of building a new routine. With help from caregivers or a Geriatic Care Manager, elders and their families can put together and maintain an exercise and diet routine that will keep them happier and healthier for longer.

As far as keeping a little extra weight on your body, it’s important to be aware of the difference between non-concerning fat and concerning fat. Having some extra padding in the legs or hips is not so much as problem as having fat around the abdomen. This is because abdominal fat is not only the “spare tire” that’s visible, but it is also fat that resides inside and in-between organs. This is the type of fat that is good to eliminate. With good eating and good exercise, staying healthy and happy in later life is much more attainable.

If you are interested in discussing any matters of aging with a professional on our team, we offer FREE consultation calls every day at 617-405-8796. You can also leave a comment with your question, send us a direct Facebook or Instagram message, or e-mail us at

Senior Steps provides assistance with medical, legal, and financial advocacy and planning, and help with activities of daily living.

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