Age and Metabolism: What You Need to Know

Metabolism and Age: What You Need to Know

Many of us have heard the age old adage, “I’m not 20 anymore” or 15, or 35, or…insert any age younger than you already are. When you hear this, what comes to mind? For many, it’s the changes that come with age, one of them notably, being weight gain.

What are people talking about when they talk about Metabolism?

When people age, they throw the word “metabolism” around a lot. “My metabolism is slowing down,” they’ll say. Or, “my metabolism isn’t what it used to be!” And they’re right, but what do they mean?

The Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR, is what most people refer to when they discuss their metabolism and what that is, is the rate that the body used energy to keep its basic functions working properly. By basic functions, we really mean the most basic—breathing, food breakdown, brain function, etc. So essentially, the amount of energy it simply takes your body to just exist; when people talk about BMR they are not taking into account any sort of physical activity like running, swimming, or otherwise.

As you age, your Basal Metabolic Rate decreases by about 2% each decade, meaning that your body needs even more energy to do the most basic tasks. What does this mean? Well, it means that in order to remain the same weight moving forward, you’ll have to intake less calories than you did before to remain at the same weight.

What can you do about it?

The bad news here is that there is nothing you can do to change the fact that as you age, your metabolism is going to decrease. The good news is that there is a way to combat the assumed results from the metabolism decrease, and that is exercise.

By staying fit and building lean muscle, you can create patterns that help you continually burn the calories and make up for the calories that your body no longer burns automatically for you.

Can I get my BMR tested?

Yes, you can. This test needs to be done at a professional facility where your oxygen intake and carbon monoxide output can be measured. If you’d like to find a center nearby you that than help you find your Basal Metabolic Rate, you can look here.

What else can contribute to weight gain as I age?

Ah, though metabolism is no excuse and very much a real reason why people gain weight as they age, there are also a few other factors that come into play here.

Stress

As we get older, there is no doubt that the responsibilities come piling on. Responsibilities often equate to stress. What does stress do to our bodies? Many things, including releasing the hormone cortisol which increases weight gain. Our advice? Find a way to be more relaxed and laid back when you start to become overwhelmed. It will help you in life and on the scale.

Sleep

Many young people take for granted how they can treat their bodies with regard to sleep. It’s easy to go out dancing and survive a day at work the next day on only 4 hours of sleep, right? As we get older, oh how the times do change. Our bodies need an adequate amount of sleep to work properly, which includes properly being able to store, use, and gain energy. Not getting enough sleep can add to existing stress and in the end, increase weight gain.

Fitness and Nutrition can help

So yes, we know that with age, comes weight gain. But there’s no reason to become overwhelmed by this. By ensuring that we’re getting the proper nutrition (read: the right amount of protein and carbohydrates), we can prepare our bodies for this transition as we age.

Along with proper nutrition, we should continue to challenge our bodies with new fitness routines. Remember, you’re not the only one experiencing this adjustment, so feel free to ask a friend or gym buddy to come along for the ride and share your challenges together. Do you have a story you’d like to share on how you overcame your struggle with gaining weight as you gained years? Feel free to share it on our Facebook page or contact us directly!

Sources:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/basal-metabolic-rate-changes-as-you-age/2013/03/05/d26b1c18-80f1-11e2-a350-49866afab584_story.html
http://www.everydayhealth.com/weight/8-triggers-that-change-your-metabolism.aspx
http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=24491&sc=801
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16601270
http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/59/2315/is-it-true-that-metabolism-decreases-with-age/