Tell me how old you are and I’ll tell you how to lose weight

Throughout life, the two main props or elements to lose weight are nutrition and physical exercise. Although good habits must be applied from the earliest childhood, each age has its needs.

A common maxim is that “for proper weight control in all stages of life we must adjust the energy we eat with food to the amount of energy we consume with exercise, ” summarizes Iris de Luna , specialist in Endocrinology and Nutrition Clinic of the University Hospital Quironsalud Madrid.

Schoolchildren and teenagers

For De Luna, ” the main obstacle to weight loss in childhood and adolescence is sedentary lifestyle . Leisure time devoted to activities that consume little energy -in general, related to technology- has increased dramatically in the last 10 years. Obesity is an important health problem, since it causes chronic diseases ( diabetes mellitus , hypercholesterolemia , osteoarthritis , etc.). The more years of evolution obesity has, the more serious and more consequences it will have for health. Therefore, it is necessary to help the youngest to acquire health habits that include performing physical exercise on a regular basis. ”

A common mistake among teenagers is not having breakfast, believing that by skipping a meal you lose weight. ” Actually, the opposite effect occurs, the organism tries to compensate that lack of energy during the morning with a greater use of nutrients at noon. This causes a behavior of disproportionate hunger and appetite for high calorie foods in food, establishing a hunger-satiety circuit that does not facilitate the return of nutritional balance, “says the endocrinologist.

In addition, it has been shown that prolonging fasting hours reduces academic and physical performance. In school children and adolescents it is advisable to allocate 20 or 25 percent of calories for consumption in the morning , distributing it, if possible, between breakfast and lunch in the middle of the morning. School hours tend to concentrate physical and intellectual effort in the morning, so it is essential that the energy contribution is appropriate to the activity they are going to carry out.

In the youth, junk food is often abused.

At 20 years old

In the decade of the 20s “bad habits acquired in adolescence have been weighed down, because the perception of one’s health is still good. There is a bad habit of consuming fast food , with many calories and very few interesting nutrients, causing overweight problems, “explains Felipe Isidro, coordinator of the Study Group of Physical Exercise and Obesity of the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (Seedo) . According to this expert, in Spain, at these ages, there is quite a prevalence of overweight (up to more than 10 kg over the ideal weight), and this condition will lead to obesity if no remedy is applied.

“The social environment at these ages (studies, entry into the world of work and having a partner) means that the practice of physical exercise is not prioritized. And when it is practiced it is more sport, like soccer or paddle , that exercise as such “, Isidro points out.

From 20 to 50 years the main complaint of patients with excess weight is the lack of time, both to perform physical exercise and to plan meals, specifies De Luna.

What to do? “You have to change your lifestyle. It is not about eating less, but trying to eat better. In the same way, you should not move more, but do it better. In short, do it effectively, “says Isidro.

The expert in Quironsalud Nutrition opens the age range and gives the following guidelines on the recommended exercise from 20 to 50 years: “The indications are going to be very variable depending on our physical condition, the presence or not of injuries and the preferences and tastes of each person. In this sense, the key to achieving an effective weight loss is the regularity and the progressive increase in the intensity or duration of the exercise. A false belief is to think that by performing exactly the same type of exercise we will maintain a progressive loss of weight. ”

De Luna details that as the physical condition improves, the training must be adapted to achieve the goal of body composition. “We will review what is the actual time that we have to exercise and if, in addition, we can do it in company or complement it with another activity over the weekend. Group activities are a good way to enjoy our free time. All this must be accompanied by an active daily life. ”

Biologically, the optimal point is reached at 25 years. From the age of 30 a “decline” begins.

Begin to do cardiovascular physical exercise is necessary in the thirties.

At 30 years old

At the age of 30, there is a health concern because some signs of aging begin (such as wrinkles or hair loss). Isidro mentions that “the positive thing is that people are becoming aware of the need to take care of themselves. Precisely for that reason there is less prevalence of obesity in this stage of life. On the other hand, habits that do not change at this stage will cost much to modify in the future. ”

Nutritionally, the main advice is to get away from fast food or junk and consume natural products instead of processed ones. You have to eat more protein, eating more white and lean meat (without fat), milk, blue fish and eggs.

“At 30 starts the loss of muscle mass smoothly, reducing strength,” says Isidro. As an addition, osteopenia begins to appear in women. Hence the importance of starting physical exercise (cardiovascular, for example) leaving the sport little by little. “Compulsively they have to practice exercises that work the strength of the muscular mass, such as squats, strides and thrusts (or push-ups) against the wall and the floor.

It is very important to work muscle mass when you turn 40.

At 40 years old

In the decade of the 40 years in the woman appears menopause and the problems derived from the hormonal change that supposes. Depending on the state of each female, you will have to make a nutritional change, incorporating calcium into your diet. “Women with osteopenia do not assimilate calcium well because they do not have enough vitamin D3. This vitamin, in addition to being present in some foods, is found in the sun. That is why it is recommended to exercise outdoors . If this is not possible, you should start taking vitamin D supplements, “Isidro summarizes.

Also, you have to do exercises that strengthen for the bones . A good example are the jumps. “The ideal is to run , exercise with step , jump rope , do small squats with jump or strides also with jump “, says this expert. Something that, in general, is unknown is that “from this age the woman has to be reducing cardiovascular exercises, since its excess leads to a loss of muscle and bone mass. For example, you can do 3 or 4 days of strength exercises a week and 1 or 2 of cardio. ”

In men , who at this age already notice andropause due to the lowering of testosterone, it is “very important to work on muscular strength , assuming 80 percent of the exercise that you practice. The rest must be cardiovascular, “says Isidro.

Following with the nutrition for men and women , the member of the Seedo advises to raise one point more the consumption of proteins . In concrete, in each decade of the life it is necessary to increase between 0,2 and 0,4 grams by each kilogram of weight the protein ingestion. A very protein-rich breakfast could be an omelette with whole-wheat toast, instead of basing the first meal of the day on carbohydrates .

Without forgetting, as always, the consumption of whole carbohydrates, fruits , vegetables and white meats.

Visceral fat accumulated over the years in the male abdomen increases cardiovascular risk.

At 50 years old

“The energy necessary to maintain the proper functioning of the body is gradually reduced from 50. The body composition changes and metabolic needs are reduced, being necessary to adjust the calorie consumption to energy expenditure”, says the specialist of Quironsalud.

At these ages many men have already accumulated visceral fat in the abdomen area. This type of fat results in an increase in cardiovascular risk . “The good thing is that it is the first thing that responds with a nutritional change and physical exercise,” says Isidro.

Osteoporosis manifests itself in many women . That is why it is important to strengthen the strength exercises and start doing others with joint mobility (stretching, water exercises and yoga ).

“The difficulties for weight loss in this age group are similar to other stages, although other obstacles are added to perform physical exercise due to mobility limitation or due to the appearance of other diseases (respiratory or cardiac pathologies)”, says De Luna, adding that special emphasis should be placed on preventing the loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia), which is very accelerated during periods of bed rest. Early mobilization and active exercise, as well as ensuring a tight protein intake.

Balance exercises help the woman not to fall.

From 60 or 65 years old

In this stage of life ” problems can appear in chewing and swallowing . In easily chewed and crushed diets, carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, rice …) are usually increased and protein consumption reduced (meat, due to its difficulty in chewing, and fish, for example). choking risk with thorns). Therefore, we must make dietary adaptations that ensure a correct protein intake “, specifies De Luna. After 60 years, protein intake should already be 2 grams per kg of body weight, adds Isidro.

This expert considers of vital importance “to do physical exercise because the loss of muscular mass accelerates , getting to be brutal. Therefore, both men and women have to strengthen their muscles. ”

In women it is essential to do balance exercises , practicing or with vibrating platforms, to avoid falls and breaks in the hip or femur.

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