Do you find it easier to gain weight as you get older, even if you eat the same?
Your metabolism could be a big reason why.
As people get older, their metabolism tends to slow down. Because your metabolism helps regulate your weight, this makes it easier to gain weight and much harder to lose it.
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural ways to speed up your metabolism.
Here’s why your metabolism slows down as you get older and how to fight it.
Does your metabolism slow down?
The metabolism is a term used to describe all of the chemical processes involved in converting the food you eat into the energy that your body needs to function correctly.
How fast your metabolism works determines how many calories you burn per day, so people with a faster metabolism typically burn more calories per day.
Several factors determine the speed of your metabolism, such as your age, height, weight, body fat levels, muscle mass, genetics, and how active you are.
The main reasons for this are people tend to be less active as they get older, most people lose muscle mass with age, and your internal components become less efficient (3, 4).
Research shows that your metabolism slows down with age. The main reasons why are people tend to be more active, lose muscle mass, and their internal components become less efficient.
What can you do about it?
While aging is inevitable, there are several ways to fight the effects of aging on your metabolism.
For starters, try lifting weights or resistance training to stay active and preserve muscle mass. A few studies in people aged 50 and over found that lifting weights or doing resistance training three times per week sped up their metabolic rate by 7–8% (5, 6).
If you’re not a fan of lifting weights or resistance training, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT alternates between short bursts of intense cardio and short periods of rest.
Several studies have shown that HIIT can help you preserve and build muscle mass. On top of this, HIIT workouts continue to burn calories for up to 14 hours after your workout (7, 8).
Aside from exercise, make sure you’re getting plenty of restful sleep. A lack of sleep can slow down your metabolism and even encourage your body to lose muscle mass (9).
Firstly, in terms of diet, make sure you’re eating enough food, even if you’re not hungry. If you don’t, your body may slow down your metabolism to conserve energy (10).
Also, try and eat more protein-rich foods to preserve muscle and speed up your metabolism. The body burns more calories when you eat protein-rich foods, and simply eating a high-protein diet could help you burn up to an extra 80-100 calories per day (11).
There are several ways to help speed up your metabolism and fight the effects of aging. This includes lifting weights or resistance training, trying HIIT, getting plenty of restful sleep, eating a sufficient number of calories, and eating more protein-rich foods.
Blog written by Ryan Raman MHSC, RD