“Older Australians—people aged 55 years and over—are being strongly caught up in the national obesity epidemic”, a study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports.

Maintaining a healthy weight lowers risk of chronic illness, disability, and social impairments, and is therefore vital for seniors in aged care homes.

Seniors can retain mobility, lose weight, and boost health most easily by eating a healthy diet and regularly walking (a gentle endurance exercise).

Moreover, walking with a dog provides seniors with valuable companionship and the motivation needed to embrace a fit and healthy lifestyle for life.

Walking for weight loss

While walking may not be as intense as other cardio exercises, such as, swimming or running, it’s still very beneficial for health — especially in seniors.

Regular walking boosts both metabolism and circulation and facilitates weight loss. It also strengthens muscles which tend to weaken with age.

Strong muscles allow you to increase mobility and put less pressure on joints.

Plus, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn while resting. You’ll also get your daily dose of feel-good endorphins.

Walking is even more enjoyable with your dog (if you have one).

Dogs need regular exercise — at least a half hour walk per day — which results in an extra 200 calories burnt for you.

Any type of walking is great for fitness, and short walks around the grounds are a great place to start. If your dog needs longer periods of exercise, you could go cycling while they run with you.

Cycling is low-impact cardio which is easy on your joints. Routinely taking your dog out for walks means they’ll never let you skip a session.

Eat right

Weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise.

Since your metabolism slows down as you age, many older people struggle with weight gain.

Generally, you need roughly 100 calories less per day as each decade passes to maintain your weight.

So, it’s important you adjust your diet to help support your weight loss.

Cut back on calories by practicing portion control. If you get hungry in between meals, eat fruit.

Fill up on steamed vegetables instead of fries. Your dog can enjoy most fruits and veggies too.

It’s important to focus on retaining muscle mass while losing weight, especially in older age, and your diet can help with this.

Make sure you get enough high-quality protein at each meal. According to one study, adults between ages 52 and 75 were able to more easily build muscle by consuming 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day.

Stay safe

Always consult your doctor before starting a weight loss programme.

If your fitness is poor and you’re not used to regular walking, it’s best to get everything okayed by your doctor beforehand.

Likewise, if your dog is overweight and hasn’t been getting enough exercise, get him checked out by the vet. You can then go ahead in confidence that you’re doing the right thing for both you and your dog’s health.

Disclaimer. All content on this site is general discussion only and nothing should be considered as medical advice. Always consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet, medical plan, or exercise routine. 

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