The good news is, you have some control over the situation. By making a few changes in your eating habits and adding more physical activity to your week, you can begin to shed those extra pounds that are getting you down. If you haven’t exercised in a while, get your doctor’s go-ahead, and then create a schedule for yourself. Being active at least 4-5 days a week is a great goal.
The good news for people who have been sedentary for a while: You’ll see quick results when you add weekly activity, and stick to your schedule.
The bad news for boomers who have been active most of their life: You’ll have to work a lot harder to maintain your weight.
It’s a good idea to change your routine every few months so your body has a new challenge. Otherwise, you may find that while you are fit, the weight doesn’t budge too much and you probably need to evaluate your eating as well.
In addition, be sure to check in with your dietitian for an evaluation. Body weight is important, but overall fitness and good eating habits are part of the big picture. You may find that you hold a bit more weight, but are still fit. Keep working at eating well, choosing less junk, monitoring portions, and keeping tabs.
Here are some tips for assessing your fitness:
1. Know your risk factors. Consider your family’s history of disease (parents, grandparents).
2. Test your aerobic fitness. Using a treadmill, take a one-mile brisk walk. Check your pulse before and afterward. A healthy boomer can walk a mile in 13-16 minutes with a steady pulse (110-170 beats per minute).
3. How many push-ups can you do? Pushing your own body weight is an easy test. A healthy, fit, adult should be able to do at least five.
4. Test your flexibility. See how far you can reach when you sit on the floor with legs straight and out-stretched in front of you. Good flexibility in men is measured by reaching within about 7 inches from his toes; flexible females can stretch to within 1-5 inches of her toes. If you can touch your toes, you have excellent flexibility.
5. Body Composition. Measure your waist with a tape measure at its narrowest point. For reduced risk of disease, men should have a waist < 40 inches, and women < 35 inches.