Is Weight Loss the Most Important Goal?

If you want to get in shape, you better believe this: Nothing is more important than losing weight!

The number on the scale is all that matters!

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Trust us, folks. Despite society’s focus on it, your weight is not always the most important factor in your health and fitness. And losing weight should not necessarily be the No. 1 goal of exercising on a regular basis.

That’s a common misunderstanding that frustrates many newcomers to fitness. It keeps others from even trying to get in shape.

It’s true that weight loss is a common goal. It’s an excellent goal for many people. And being at a proper weight is essential for your health.

But there are so many more reasons to pursue or maintain a fit lifestyle. And there are so many other indicators of health than just pounds – like body fat percentage and strength.

  • Thin doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.
  • Strong is the new skinny.
  • You might weigh a little more after losing body fat and gaining muscle.

Remember that daily movement is essential for optimal aging. It keeps you feeling better, moving better, and – yes! – looking better.

It lowers healthcare costs.

It extends independence.

So, let’s go over some of the main facts about fitness over 50 that often get overlooked in all the misinformation out there.

Focus on Function

Cody Sipe, a professor and co-founder of the Functional Aging Institute, fights ageism and focuses on functional ability rather than merely someone’s weight or age.

He points out a few of the common false myths.

  • Older people should never lift weights. Not only can most mature people lift weights, but they shouldlift weights. Strength training builds muscle mass, which we lose as we age. And it protects bone health.
  • Walking is good enough. Walking and jogging are nice first steps, but we must do more. That includes strength, cardio endurance, balance and mobility.
  • You’ll hurt yourself if you exercise. Wrong. It’s more dangerous to sit all day than to move your body with purpose.

A Few Top Motivators

People over 50 have endless reasons for wanting a healthier lifestyle.

  1. Grandkids. If you don’t think you need strength, agility and endurance to be The Fun Nana, well, guess again.
  2. Travel. Try carrying luggage, putting it in an overhead compartment, and enjoying activities WITHOUT being in good shape.
  3. Mental Health. Exercise relieves depression, battles dementia, and improves sleep. Hello!
  4. Physical Health. It keeps you at a healthy weight, which lowers your risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and countless other issues as you age.
  5. Sports and Hobbies. You can continue your favorite leisure activities if you are fit. This is true for everything from pickleball to ballroom dancing.

So, you see, although it really is important to maintain a healthy weight, this is a much more rewarding journey than just obsessing about that number on the scale. Questions? We are here to help!