Benefits Of Exercise Outweigh Dieting In Aging Adults Managing Their Weight
Written by Editor   
Friday, April 24, 2015 12:00 AM

Nearly two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, especially as they age.  As we get older our bodies metabolize calories more slowly, and we just aren’t capable of doing the things we used to do. This also means that, as we age, we might also witness our waistlines getting bigger.  The strange thing is that as people get older, they tend to eat much healthier than they did as students.  Older people are more likely to turn to responsible food choices like salads and lean meats. But if our diets improve as we get older, then why do we still get fat as we age?

According to a new study, it’s because physical activity has a greater impact on our weight and health than diet does as we grow older. The study examined 4,999 American adults between the ages of 20 and 70 by using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and recorded information about people’s weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and diet.  This study points to the very important impact of physical activity on weight status in U.S. adults, and in particular it points to the critical role of the age-related decline in physical activity on the increasing rates of overweight and obesity that we see with aging.

People who rely only on diet to lose weight end up either gaining the weight back shortly after, or struggle to lose weight because they’re not feeding themselves the proper nutrients. Exercise, on the other hand, helps you keep the weight off longer and will jumpstart your metabolism. 

Americans should meet the federal physical activity guideline: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. “If most American adults met that guideline, rates of overweight and obesity would be substantially lower than they are today,” the study authors say.

So, ordering a salad at your favorite diner instead of your regular cheeseburger may be a good start, but it’s certainly not the whole deal. You’re going to have to get moving if you want to stay fit and healthy as you get older.