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For many seniors, getting daily exercise is a necessity. Not only does it help keep you healthy and fit, it can also prevent disease, boost mental health, and help ease joint pain. It’s important, however, to find workouts that are safe and will allow weight loss in the right way, especially if you have special needs where your diet or mobility are concerned. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about the best way to get started with a weight loss regimen.

Your diet plays a crucial role in weight loss, as well, and it should be closely monitored by your doctor if you have existing health issues, such as diabetes or a history of stroke or heart attack. In general, a diet that is high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats (from foods like fish and avocados) is a great way to go, but it’s different for everyone.

Here are a few of the best tips on how to create a safe, healthy weight-loss plan.

Exercise Daily

Daily exercise is imperative for seniors when it’s safe to do so. Walking, practicing yoga, swimming, and playing sports like golf and tennis are all great ways to stay active and maintain a healthy weight that won’t put too much strain on your body. It’s important to stay safe during these activities, which means wearing sturdy shoes, staying hydrated, and taking breaks when you feel overly tired. Wear light layers to stay cool, and aim for outdoor workouts in the early morning or at twilight to prevent overheating.

Create Ideal Workout Conditions

It can be hard to stay motivated to work out, especially if you’re having unexpected health issues or if the weather is bad. One of the best ways around this is to create a home gym, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to do. Depending on your workout needs, you could add some free weights, a yoga mat, some resistance bands, or a stability ball rather than fill it with expensive equipment. Assess your exercise routine and think about what you’ll need to make the most of it.

Don’t Let Exercise Myths Hold You Back

Many seniors are told over and over again that it’s harder to lose weight once a person hits the age of 55, but many doctors now agree that it’s not much harder for a senior to lose weight than it is for someone in their 20s. The key is to minimize body pain and maximize energy levels with diet and adequate rest.

“The true path to weight control and fitness after age 60 isn’t that much different than it is at any other stage of life. However, there are certain factors that need special consideration,” says author and personal trainer Michael Spitzer.

Take things slow, find workouts that are easy on your joints and lungs, and discuss any medical issues with your doctor.

Work with Your Metabolism

As we get older, our metabolisms change and tend to slow down, so it’s important to find a diet that will work well with yours. Fruit, nuts, and protein-rich fish are perfect; consider replacing carbs with refined sugars (such as white bread and rice) with whole grains.

Weight loss at any age can be tricky if you don’t have a good plan or are battling illness or mobility issues. Talk to your doctor before beginning any new regimen, and take your workouts slowly; ease into them to prevent injury and promote motivation to stay with it.

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