The new year is always a popular time to institute a new weight management routine. Whether it’s losing or gaining weight or implementing a strength conditioning program, the change in calendar year often gives individuals a new resolve in committing to their health. For older individuals especially, maintaining a healthy weight is vital to their good health as they age.
It’s been reported by biotech company Gelesis that 71 million Americans have put on weight since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early months of 2020 due to factors such as stress and anxiety as well as a decrease in mobility caused by quarantining at home.
Now is the perfect time to begin a weight management routine. Even if this is your first time doing so, it doesn’t have to be difficult if you plan accordingly.
Get Off to a Good Start
There’s no better way to start the day (and a new health regimen) than with a good night’s sleep. While sleep needs vary by age, it’s often recommended that older individuals get about seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Of course, all individuals have their own sleep habits and requirements as well, and these may have been affected but outside factors (e.g., stress caused by the pandemic). You may find a healthy exercise routine will have profoundly positive results for your sleeping habits. If a lack of sleep is a cause of concern, speak with your doctor regarding your symptoms and other factors to come up with a treatment that works for you.
Don’t Get Stuck In A Rut, Embrace Routine
While it was often thought that a new habit could be developed in 21 days, research conducted by Phillippa Lally found it took anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a habit with the average being around 66 days. It’s important to be patient when implementing a new routine and know that it may feel like work for a while while you grow accustomed to this new undertaking. Just know you are embracing this change in diet and exercise for your well being and remain consistent in your approach. The results will be rewarding.
While you may not always be in the mood to exercise rigorously, it’s important to be mobile a little bit every day (this will also pay great dividends in building your routine). While the average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps per day, the CDC recommends older individuals to walk briskly 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This can be a great time to remain social by walking with a friend or family member or to catch up on an audiobook or some favorite music.
Plan of Action
Anxiety can easily cause individuals to “stress eat” and 63 percent of Americans reported they found it difficult to maintain healthy habits during the pandemic. Now that you’re ready to begin your new journey to better health now is the perfect time to put a plan into action. In this case, a meal plan. Meal plans allow you to take ownership of the foods you buy as well as the amount of food you eat. It’s important to remain balanced, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and protein in each meal so that your body has proper fuel to function at its peak level. Also be conscious of sugar and alcohol intake to maintain proper weight management.