Truth is you don’t need a formal exercise program; just spend time on the things you enjoy doing that also get you moving.
By: Bindu Grandhi and Brigid Beitel
Count Up Your Calories
“People need fewer calories as they age because of a shift from lean muscle mass to fat, and a resulting decrease in metabolic rate,” explains Andrew Weil, a physician who specializes in integrative medicine. Since many women don’t take that into consideration, the much maligned “middle-age spread” starts to pack on the pounds. Shoot to decrease your caloric intake by 200 calories. A woman who is not physically active should keep her caloric intake at 1,600 calories per day, while an active woman should aim for 1,900 per day. Consume the “correct calories” and stay away from “empty calories.” These are foods and drinks with a lot of calories but little or no nutrients, such as chips, cookies, sodas, and alcohol. Additionally, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of portion control – for example, a serving of meat, poultry, or fish must be 3 ounces or the size of a deck of cards.
It’s also important to cut back on alcohol and caffeine. Women who have more than two alcoholic drinks a day are at higher risk of osteoporosis and caffeine consumption interferes with hormone levels and also increases the loss of calcium. Try to limit alcohol consumption to one glass a day (preferably red wine) and caffeine to one cup a day.
Of late, salt has received much media attention because too much salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. It is recommended that women over 50 consume about 2/3 of a teaspoon of table salt–1500 milligrams of sodium. That includes all the sodium in your food and drink, not just the salt you add when cooking or eating. Here’s a tip – adding lemon juice, or spices and herbs reduces the need for salt.Â Select foods labeled ‘low-sodium’ (check for sodium, not salt, on the Nutrition Facts panel) and avoid salty snacks and canned, processed or prepared foods. When dining out, request low-sodium meals and watch your portions. If your doctor tells you to use less salt, ask about a salt substitute.
Pump Up With Exercise or Fun Activities
The goal here is to boost metabolism, burn fat and build muscle mass and bone strength. For example, aerobics revs up your metabolism and helps you burn fat, and therefore lose weight. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, cycling, running, yoga or tennis, increase muscle mass and ward off osteoporosis. Both need to be a part of your lifestyle. Truth is you don’t need a formal exercise program; just spend time on the things you enjoy doing that also get you moving – whether that’s gardening or zumba! Shoot for a total of 30 minutes or more a day at least 5 days a week.
By following these five simple strategies, you’ll have many more wonderful years to come. After all, 50 is the new 30!
About the Author:
Author ofÂ Spice Up Your Life, Bindu Grandhi is passionate about healthy and flavorful flexitarian cooking. She shares her health knowledge with the world by providing practical, healthy and tasty recipes asÂ The Flex Cook.
About the Research Contributor:
Brigid Beitel is a student at the University of Richmond, interested in pursuing a major in marketing with an interest in the culinary industry. Among her many talents, she is a reporter for The Collegian, University of Richmond’s Independent Student newspaper, where she writes “telling” restaurant reviews. She is smart, motivated and volunteered to do research for this article. I am most grateful for her contributions and I wish her much success in her collegiate and career endeavors.
Note: Please do check with your doctor or a registered dietitian about the above recommendations especially if you have health problems like heart disease or diabetes, or to discuss any effects in conjunction with your medicines.