You might’ve heard people talk about their metabolism and how it relates to their weight, maybe in statements like these:
“I never gain a pound – I guess I just have a high metabolism.”
“I keep gaining weight since I turned 40. My metabolism must have slowed down.”
But have you ever wondered what they meant by “metabolism” – and whether it really changes the older we get?
These are old questions given renewed focus by a big study published in Science. The findings suggest that we can’t rely on the old “slowing metabolism” excuse for middle-aged weight gain anymore. And plenty of research shows we can raise metabolism throughout life to improve health and manage weight.
First, Some Basics
What Is metabolism? In this context, we’re talking about the Basic Metabolic Rate to indicate how much energy your body uses every day to keep you alive. This includes things like walking, eating, and sleeping. (Yep, we burn a certain amount of energy even when at rest.)
Everyone’s metabolic rate is different. Factors like age, sex, weight, genetics, and lifestyle influence it. So, there are some things you can’t control about how many calories your body burns, but MANY THINGS you can control through lifestyle habits, including:
Lifestyle over Age
Conventional wisdom has held that metabolism slows down around age 40, and many of us have relied on that to rationalize midlife weight gain.
Instead, the new study says, our basic metabolic rate stays about the same from 20 to 60. The culprit for the common “middle-aged spread” is actually lifestyle changes.
Most of us slow down after 40, and then – unfortunately – continue to do less and less physical movement on a regular basis.
Instead, we should move more, incorporating short bursts of movement throughout the day, like a 60-second walk for every hour spent sitting at work. And we should be versatile in our workouts, including enough strength training AND aerobic training both.
Whether it happens at 40, 60 or later, your basic metabolic rate will slow down, and you’ll probably store more fat and lose muscle. But you have the power to lessen that through regular exercise and other lifestyle habits.
We’re here to get you making all the right moves. Call or come see us today.