If you have been wondering why you cannot lose weight as you used to or why you keep gaining weight no matter how active you are, your metabolism could hold the key. The metabolism might be working much slower or faster compared to others, but aging is a natural process which slows it down and makes weight loss more difficult. This is actually how metabolism changes and how it makes losing weight more challenging in later adulthood.
What Does Your Metabolism Do?
Metabolism is the key to weight loss as it is in charge of taking food and converting it into energy. Those with high metabolic rate burn calories much faster when they are resting, compared to those with lower metabolic rate. When you exercise, you burn much more calories on top of that resting metabolism. Unfortunately, if you metabolism is slowed down, you cannot make it go faster. But, the good news is that you can stimulate this process by making healthy choices.
How Age Affects Your Metabolism
In your 20s
The body doesn’t stop growing when you stop being adolescent, but is still developing, particularly the muscles and bones. This growth supports the resting metabolism, the one that works when you are inactive, like when you are sleeping or sitting. Simply put, this process burns calories when you are resting and literally doing nothing.
In your 30s and 40s
Even if in case you metabolism works faster compared to other people, age can slow it down. As time passes by and your age, the muscles which support the bones become smaller while the fat in the body increases. Muscle loss and muscle weakness can start very early, even in your 30s.
It has been scientifically shown that muscle mass is responsible for the alternations in your metabolic rate. When metabolism starts working at slower pace, you need less energy and less food. But, if you keep eating more that the body actually needs, your metabolism will not convert this fuel into energy and the body will store it as fat.
In your 50s and 60s
There is a very strong link between the metabolic changes and menopause. According to one study, when females reach menopause, it is more difficult for the body to metabolize fat. Consequently, it stores much more fat after menopause.
How To Boost Your Metabolism
Researchers suggest that eating healthy and being physically active can help delay the aging process.
Eat Whole Foods
Eat more whole foods which are healthy and packed with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Stay away from processed and refined products, which only satisfy your palate. On the other hand, whole foods are both tasty and fat-burning.
Eating healthy and controlling your weight doesn’t mean that you have to avoid tasty foods at all costs. There are many healthy alternatives out there, so do a little research and give them a chance.
Exercise and strengthening the muscles is of utmost importance, given that the metabolism replaces muscle loss with body fat. According to a 6-month study, postmenopausal women who exercised on a regular basis had better metabolism compared to those who didn’t.
Do planks to strengthen the upper back muscles and backwards running which strengthens the lower back muscles and the glutes.
Misso, M. L., Janga, C., Adams, J., Tran, J., Murata, Y., Bella, R., Boon, W. C., Simpson, E. R., & Davis, S. R. (2005). Differential expression of factors involved in fat metabolism with age and the menopause transition. Maturitas, 51(3), 299-306.
Ortmeyer, H. K., Goldberg, A. P., & Ryan, A, S. (2017). Exercise with weight loss improves adipose tissue and skeletal muscle markers of fatty acid metabolism in postmenopausal women. Obesity.
Shimokata, H. & Kuzuya, F. (1993). Aging, basal metabolic rate, and nutrition. Japanese Journal of Geriatrics, 30(7), 572-576.