Men And WeightlossEat and lose weight. Don't diet.
While none of these topics is generally enjoyed by either sex, it should be. In addition to exercise, men also need to concern themselves with proper diet and nutrition as part of a rounded program of weight loss and health.
Particularly with the onset of middle age, diet becomes a greater concern for men. Calorie needs are typically highest in the mid-20s and taper off about 2-4% with each passing decade thereafter. For an average-sized male (let's say, 5 ft 9 inches and 170 lbs), the average number of appropriate calories per day, 2500, reduces to 2200-2350.
One of the reasons for this perfectly normal change is an average reduction in muscle mass. It takes a lot of calories to continue to feed blood to muscles, to perform cellular repair and maintain internal body temperature among other physiological tasks. As men age, however, they tend to lose less muscle mass, thus requiring fewer calories.
The other major reason is a shift in basic metabolic rate. That's the "base" or "natural" rate at which your body burns calories for all of its functions, even when at rest. That amounts to about 70 calories per hour for most men, and constitutes about 65% of the daily calories needed. Hormonal and other perfectly natural changes with age reduce that basal rate.
The thyroid, which also participates in regulation, as well as other glands, tends to become less active and less efficient as we age. While age has some effect on the ability of the thyroid gland to function properly, lifestyle choices can help maintain a healthy thyroid.
The adrenal gland is another example. Glandular reduction is one of the internal factors that actually defines biological aging, in fact.
As a result of these combined events and processes, taking in the same number of calories in mid-life that were consumed during earlier decades will result in the excess being stored in adipose tissue, in other words you'll gain body fat. For most men, that body fat is considered unsightly, and, once beyond a certain level, creates or intensifies definite health risks.
Though it's not the only number you should look at, a Body Mass Index (BMI) (Body Mass Index = weight/height squared) > 30 should be a concern for nearly anyone. A BMI over 40 is generally considered obese. Waist circumference - over 35 inches - for the average male is also an indicator, with over 40 inches considered obese for most.
The question is not about what you eat - while it does matter for nutritional and general health reasons. It's a simple fact that taking in more calories than are consumed leads to the excess being stored as fat. That leads to weight gain. Reducing the daily intake by as little as 50-100 calories per day for every decade past age 29 can go a long way toward eliminating that problem.
On the other hand, reducing calories by too much can create its own health problems as well and may lead back to weight gain. So, alternatively, burning an extra 50-100 calories through exercise will help solve that problem and lead to better overall health. An extra mile per day walking is commonly enough to accomplish that.
Reduce calories, stay active and you can look and feel fit for a lifetime.
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