Age-Specific Weight Loss Ideas and Information 

Exercise and diets that work for a teen may not provide the same results for an adult, and vice versa. In addition to a changing metabolism, you may have a variety of health and fitness-related issues that make your weight-loss planning different from another age group’s. Organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and American Heart Association provide age-specific nutrition and exercise recommendations to help guide you in your quest to lose weight.

As you age, your body has different nutrition and fitness needs

Aging and Weight Loss Planning

As you age, you lose bone-density, making high-impact exercise more stressful High-impact exercise causes both feet to leave the ground at once, such as jogging, running on a treadmill or tennis. A diet that reduces calcium increases an adult’s risk for osteoporosis. These considerations may not as important for young people. Heart problems, high cholesterol, lower back pain and joint and knee problems may also affect how you go about losing weight.

Weight Loss

Credible health organizations recommend you lose weight by combining calorie reduction with exercise. In order to lose 1 lb. of weight, you’ll need to burn 3,500 calories, or burn 500 calories more than you eat each day for one week. Based on your age, you will calculate your daily calorie deficit using a different starting number.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends different daily calories numbers for health and weight maintenance, based in part on your age. Girls age 9 to 13 years should eat 1,600 to 2,200 calories, based on their activity levels, while boys that age need 1,800 to 2,600 calories. Females age 14 to 18 need 1,800 to 2,400 calories, while boys will need 2,200 to 3,200 calories. Women age 19 to 30 should eat 2,000 to 2,400 calories, with men requiring 2,400 to 3,000. Women age 31 to 50 need 1,800 to 2,200 should, with men that age requiring 2,200 to 3,000 calories. Women older than 50 should eat 1,600 to 2,200 calories, while senior men should eat 2,000 to 2,800.

These numbers are for healthy weight maintenance. You will create your daily calorie deficit using these numbers. For example, if you are 30-year-old female who is not active during the day, your starting calorie number is 2,000 calories. To lose 1 lb., you will need to burn 500 calories through exercise, or eat only 1,500 calories, or combine exercise and dieting, such as eating 1,750 calories and burning 250 calories through exercise that day.

Target Heart Rate

Your target heart rate will change with your age. The most commonly cited formula for determining your target heart rate is subtracting your age from 220. Researchers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital studied women’s cardiovascular systems and determined females should subtract 88 percent of their age from 206 to get an accurate maximum heart rate.

Once you have determined your maximum heart rate, multiply that number by .50 and .60 to get your target heart rate range for fat-burning exercise. This pace is appropriate for those new to exercise. Multiply your maximum heart rate by .70 to .80 to get your target range for higher-intensity aerobic exercise, which will help you burn more calories.

Cardio Exercise

The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents take part in 60 minutes of physical activity daily to avoid weight gain. Adults under the age of 65 should do 60 to 90 minutes of cardio exercise, several times per week, for weight loss and maintenance. Adults older than 65 should do a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate cardio exercise, similar to a brisk walk, on most days.

Additional Resources Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics Food Intake Patterns

American Heart Association: Physical Activity and Children

New York Times: Recalibrated Formula Eases Womenfs Workouts