From middle-age, the brains of obese individuals display differences in white matter similar to those in lean individuals ten years their senior, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge and published in the Neurobiology of Aging. White matter is the tissue that connects areas of the brain and allows for information to be communicated between regions.
Our brains naturally shrink with age, but scientists are increasingly recognizing that obesity — already linked to conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease — may also affect the onset and progression of brain aging.
What can be done to sustain weight management as you age?
- Celebrate summer and get moving! Schedule one afternoon a week for the family to garden and then play in the newly mowed grass. Studies show that you can burn about 200-400 calories an hour by pulling weeds. Not only will you get a great workout, your kids will have a blast too while combating childhood obesity.
- Stay hydrated. If your belly feels full, you won’t be as hungry and won’t overeat.
- Exercise before bed. Do you give into cravings while watching TV at night? Try exercising instead. According to an April 2013 study in the journal, Obesity, our circadian system makes us hungriest a few hours before bedtime. But you may feel fuller after working out. A different study in the journal, Metabolism, found that perceived fullness was higher among participants after 12 weeks of aerobic training than before they were exercising. So a brisk walk after dinner each night may make you less likely to snack before bed.
Senior author of the Cambridge research and Professor Paul Fletcher, from the Department of Psychiatry, adds, “The fact that we only saw these differences from middle-age onwards raises the possibility that we may be particularly vulnerable at this age. It will also be important to find out whether these changes could be reversible with weight loss, which may well be the case.”
Are you in need of fitness assistance as a middle-aged adult? Fitness for Health can help you create a healthy, active lifestyle while having fun and maintaining weight management. We offer customized exercise programs designed to fit your and your children’s exact needs while helping you reach your unique health goals. From first-time gym-goers to NFL and boxing professional athletes looking for athletic training, Fitness for Health has fitness programs to help people of all ages and abilities reach their fullest potential. And, we offer family workouts and Open Gym playtimes (beginning again in September) so families can become active together.