Keep on Moving

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Being thin seems to be the trend of the day, but maintaining muscle mass is essential for the body’s strength, mobility, and stamina. Health problems increase with age and can cause loss of weight unexpectedly or unwillingly. Avoiding muscle mass loss is easily achieved through exercise and prevents such diseases as osteoporosis, type II diabetes, and a decrease in arthritic pain.

As people age, staying moderately active is a desirable goal. According to Wake Forest University, up until age 80, older adults not only gain fat as they age, but because of the obesity epidemic, they actually begin their older years fatter than in the past. Therefore, any kind of movement is desirable. Stay limber and maintain a desired body weight. Stimulation of muscle tissue enhances the state of mind and mental sharpness excels with exercise, along with balance, strength and flexibility. All of this aids in pre- venting serious injuries from falls. Physical exercise also assists in managing illnesses by reducing the number of medications taken.

The elderly should not worry about losing weight unless it is 20 pounds over what they should weigh. Existing at the upper end of the weight range is more desirable than existing at the lower end. Research studies show that older people who take in fewer calories than recommended are found to loose a significant amount of muscle mass. As always, consult your physician or dietitian before starting any kind of exercise program. Maintain a little extra weight and it will support you in surviving a health scare.

Frequently Heard Words

“Dieting” is a commonly used expression. Do not think of “dieting” as cutting back food that is enjoyed. Replace calorie dense foods with

healthier, more nutritious foods. Get more variety of colors on your plate and in turn your meals will provide more nutrition. “Counting Calories” is another term that is used often. When someone counts calories, they are adding up the energy they consume through food. In order for a person to stay at the same weight, the energy, or calories, they take in must equal the energy out. Simply, calories in = calories out. If the calories consumed is greater than the calories that are exiting, one will gain weight. Oppositely, if calories out is greater than calories in, then one will loose weight.

Body Types

Each person processes a unique body type. It is interesting to determine which category you fall into. Body types are inherited and each

holds an advantage over the other. Any body shape can be healthy. Here are 3 examples of body types:

  1. Ectomorphs – These are generally tall and thin people. They have long arms and legs. Ectomorphs have a hard time gaining weight no matter what they eat. A very small portion of the population is this body type.
  2. Mesomorphs – These are usually shorter and more muscular people. They appear to have stocky arms and legs. They are strong and can gain muscle mass to a great extent. Consequently, mesomorphs may find it difficult to lose weight.
  3. Endomorphs – These are people who are commonly shaped like a pear or an apple. They maintain more body fat than the other two body types, no matter how little they eat.

Information from:, University of Los Angeles,, BMC Public Health. Nutrition Education for MARCH 2008. Produced by Meals on Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County by Crystal Sherman, Nutrition Intern, for Sherry Simon, R.D./L.D.M.

For questions regarding nutrition education contact: Sherry Simon, R.D./L.D., Director of Nutrition Services for Meals on Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County at 817-336-0912 or email: Website: 

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