The Becoming Center is more than just a place where individuals come to reach their health and fitness goals, it is the core of motivation for people striving to feel strong, and discover the endless possibilities of living well. 

An outstanding wellness center located on Artman’s campus in Ambler, The Becoming Center is home to exercise physiologists, personal trainers, and nutritionists who create personalized health and exercise programs on a daily basis. Today, they’re sharing their secrets on how older adults can lead a healthy lifestyle, lose weight, and live well.

Why does it feel so difficult for older adults to lose weight?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2015-2016 the prevalence of obesity was higher among adults ages 60 and older than it was in younger adults ages 20 to 39.  With older adults representing approximately 41 percent of the obese population in America, and individuals ages 20 to 39 representing just 35 percent, the question isn’t whether or not obesity is more common among this population, it’s why.

Common reasons adults ages 60 and over struggle with weight loss and weight management

  • Slowing down of metabolism
  • Decreased exercise due to health issues
  • Poor nutrition due to changes in physical activity
  • Muscle loss due to lack of exercise
The Becoming Center’s exercise physiologist, Kylie, works with members to help them reach their fitness goals

Exercise Physiologist at The Becoming Center, Kiley Sharp, says, “Several things change in the body with age, including metabolism slowing down and typically several health issues and concerns. As individuals age, it is not uncommon for health problems to surface, which can often make exercise and nutrition difficult to maintain and keep up with.” To stay physically active and maintain a healthy weight, older adults must navigate these new challenges, and The Becoming Center personal trainers are spilling their secrets.

1. Find a fitness routine you actually enjoy doing!

If you’re trying to lose weight, exercise will certainly help. But the key to making physical fitness more routine is making it feel fun, not dreadful. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, only 35-44 percent of adults 75 years or older are physically active. And more than 80 percent of adults do not meet the national guidelines for physical activity. These numbers are certainly concerning, and they likely say a lot about how Americans feel about exercise overall.

Exercise physiologist, Kiley has a simple recommendation, “Every individual’s body is different and what it really comes down to is finding something that is effective for that person and also finding something that they enjoy and are likely to stick to!” Kiley says, revealing in her opinion a key component to creating effective fitness routines.

The Becoming Center personal trainer
Director of The Becoming Center, Anthony Byers, encourages members to live healthy lifestyles

2. Balance cardio and strength training

It’s an accomplishment to successfully fit exercise into your day-to-day. However, if you’re looking to lose weight, it’s important to know what kinds of exercise will be most effective in relation to your fitness goals. Kiley, who works with many older adults says, “With clients, I have found that a balance between cardiovascular exercise and resistance/weight training seems to be the most successful way to lose weight.” Recommending variation and balance, Kiley advises many of her older adult clients that focusing on both muscle building and cardio is more beneficial than simply focusing on one or the other.

According to Dr. Medha Munshi, geriatrician and endocrinologist at Beth Isareal Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, muscles use up more calories than fat, so the less muscle mass you have, the slower your metabolism will typically be. As a result, the slower your metabolism is, the fewer calories you will need. This is why a balanced fitness routine of both weight training and cardio is so important to burn calories and build muscle simultaneously.

3. Don’t forget about nutrition.

Exercise is certainly important when you’re trying to lose weight, but equally important is the nutrition you pair alongside it. Diet along with exercise is what will make your weight loss efforts most effective. According to Dr. Holly Lofton, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and director of the weight management program at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, to lose one pound each week from exercise alone (without dieting), you’d have to run 10 miles every day. As unrealistic as that is for the average human, it demonstrates the need to balance both fitness and nutrition for optimal weight loss.

4. If struggling with health issues, make safety your priority

While health issues can often make exercise difficult for older adults, personal trainers at The Becoming Center strive to help members reach their fitness goals through safe and effective exercises. “At The Becoming Center, our main priority is safety,” Kiley says emphasizing that even with health issues, it’s possible to maintain your physical activity and weight.

Members at The Becoming Center can’t wait for their weekly water aerobics class

“A large concern some of our members face, is that many of them have either never exercised or have not exercised in a long time due to outside factors such as health issues or time constraints. It is very important for us to ensure that everyone here is doing what’s best for them and that they are doing these exercises safely and effectively.”

5. Accountability!

Kiley says a challenge many of her clients at The Becoming Center face is accountability. “Typically when exercising alone, it is difficult to hold yourself accountable and it’s common for a person to plateau or even regress and stop their routine.” Kiley says this is why personal training is so important for the older population. “It helps to ensure that individuals are keeping their schedule and working toward their goals with someone that can hold them accountable.” While it can be difficult to find motivation to exercise on your own, if someone else depends on you, particularly a personal trainer, it makes motivation a little easier.

At The Becoming Center, personal trainers like Kiley work with members to create customized fitness routines that accommodate your health needs in a safe and effective way. Training sessions can range from strength exercises, to balance, to stretching, and more. With a diverse array of programs and established team of personal trainers, exercise physiologists, and nutritionists, The Becoming Center helps adults of all ages become stronger and healthier every day. Click here to visit their website and see how they can help you reach your nutrition and fitness goals.