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Aerobic exercise burns calories and helps reduce body fat.
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Losing fat after the age of 55 is challenging but not impossible. As you age, your body naturally loses muscle mass and body fat takes its place. Excess body fat is problematic because it increases your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and several types of cancer. In order to reduce body fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume. By following a multifaceted plan that includes aerobic exercise, strength training and a healthy diet you can create a calorie deficit and lose body fat.1.
Engage in aerobic exercise for at least an hour a day, five days a week. You should perform your workouts at a moderate to vigorous effort level. The higher the intensity of the exercise, the more calories you will burn during and after the workout. If you are new to exercise, you can start with shorter exercise sessions and gradually increase your workout length over time. Examples of high calorie-burning activities are running, stair climbing, high-impact aerobics and cycling.
Perform strength training exercises at least twice a week. Strength training builds muscle and helps to increase your resting metabolism so that you burn more calories daily. Strength training also helps to preserve muscle so that the weight you lose is fat rather than muscle. Start by performing one to two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions for each major muscle group including legs, back, chest, arms, shoulders and core. Progress to performing three sets of eight to 12 repetitions with heavier weights for added fat-burning benefits.3.
Reduce your calorie intake by following a healthy diet with sensible portion sizes. You should aim to lose one to two pounds per week which requires an average caloric deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day. While part of this deficit will come from exercise, the rest must come from reduced food intake. In order to reduce food intake without feeling deprived, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. Limit your intake of sodium and empty calories such as alcohol, sweets and sugary beverages.4.
Drink more water. Water is essential for maintaining proper body function. Consuming adequate amounts of water helps with appetite suppression and improves metabolic function. It also improves liver function so that the body uses a greater percentage of fat for energy. Aim to drink 96 oz. of water per day plus an additional 8 oz. for every 25 pounds you carry over your ideal weight.5.
Get more sleep. A 2010 study in the "Annals of Internal Medicine" found that insufficient sleep compromises fat loss. Individuals in the study who slept 8.5 hours per night burned more fat and preserved more muscle than individuals who slept 5.5 hours per night. The group that got more sleep also reported less hunger. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night to aid in your fat loss efforts.
- Consult with your physician before beginning a new diet or fitness program.