The Truth About Your Metabolism As You Age
A lot of people believe that our metabolism slows down after the age of 30. Well, it can FEEL like our metabolism slows down at that age. We usually just put it down to the joys of getting older. But in reality, this isn’t the case. Your metabolism actually doesn’t begin to decrease until around the age of 60.
So if it isn’t age that’s slowing down our metabolism, what is it?
Spoiler alert: Lifestyle factors that result in inactivity and reduced muscle mass is the reason for fast weight gain and the feeling that it is harder to lose weight as you age, not ageing itself.
A recent study by Pontzer H, et al (2021), found that from age 1 to about age 20, our metabolism gradually slows by about 3 percent a year. But from age 20 to 60, it holds steady. And, after age 60, it declines by about 0.7 percent a year.
As Lisa Rapaport noted in her article about the topic:
“These data suggest that the `middle age spread’ that we all know about anecdotally or personally is not due to a change in intrinsic metabolism as had been long thought,” says Rozalyn Anderson, PhD, coauthor of an editorial accompanying the study and a professor at the school of medicine and public health at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. “It is far more likely now that changes in behaviour are at the root of it.”
Herman Pontzer, PhD, explains that these new findings mean that people who do gain weight in middle age can’t just blame it on being sluggish due to a slowing metabolism.
The key to a healthy metabolism as you age is to be as active as you can and make sure you are doing some sort of resistance training. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns during the day. If you aren’t physically active, you could lose between 3% to 5% of muscle mass each decade!
Read More: Losing Weight During Menopause
The government recommends we get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, including resistance training. If you’re not at that level yet, don’t stress! Slowly increase your exercise weekly until you’re at an amount you can realistically stick to weekly.
Don’t forget to find something you enjoy! Whether that be walking, swimming, Zumba or pump class. The best exercise for weight loss/maintenance is one that you will do long term and actually enjoy doing.
Another important factor is protein intake.
Protein is the building blocks of the body. It is IMPERATIVE that we eat enough protein daily. Not only does it do most of the work in cell structure and function, protein is important for regulation, repair and maintenance of our muscles, tissues and organs.
So while you're trying to build and maintenance your muscle mass as you age, it's important to make sure you are fuelling them with an adequate protein intake
Struggling to get enough protein into your diet? Our Slim Mama Shake has 24g protein per serve! We combined whey and collagen protein to assist in hair, skin and nail health, along with helping you maintain your muscle tissue.
Read more about protein here: How Much Protein Do You Need Per Day?
Pontzer H, et al, IAEA DLW Database Consortium. Daily energy expenditure through the human life course. Science. 2021 Aug 13;373(6556):808-812. doi: 10.1126/science.abe5017. PMID: 34385400; PMCID: PMC8370708. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34385400/