So many things happen to our body as we age, some good and some not so good. One of the less desired effects of getting older is age related weight gain. Not only is it difficult to maintain our weight, but it's also difficult to lose it as we get older.
Even when some people don't make changes to their diet or exercise routine, they still gain weight. But why is that? Well, as we age the calories it takes to digest our food and beat our hearts simply goes down.
There are three key factors combined to drive this age related weight gain:
- Hormone levels change
- Body composition shifts
- Metabolism slows down
Your Metabolism's Role in Aging
You don't need as many calories to keep your body trucking along when your metabolism slows. That means your aged self can enjoy the same diet and exercise as your younger self. But where your younger self could maintain a healthy weight, your aged self finds that pounds are stacking on. And if you cut back on your workouts, you're making the disparity worse.
There's also the body composition to consider. Muscle mass decreases and fat mass increases as we age. And you don't need as many calorie to maintain fat as you do to maintain muscle.
Hormonal changes are also linked to age related weight gain. During menopause, women generally see hormone levels change quickly. On the other hand, men see more subtle decrease in their testosterone levels over time.
How to Fight Back Against Age Related Weight Gain
Obviously, there are factors working against you, making it likely you'll gain weight as you age. However, that doesn't mean you have no control over it. In particular, we can eat healthier and exercise.
With this in mind, here are some recommends to tip the scale in your favor:
- Lower stress levels. Stress related cortisol levels can contribute to weight gain.
- Choose a diet low in saturated and trans fats, but high in fiber and protein. Protein is the building block for muscle, therefore getting enough protein is especially important.
- When body improvements are recommended, sleep and water always make the list. In a word, too little sleep can decrease your daytime energy levels and increase your appetite.
Maintaining a healthy weight as we age is really important. Excessive weight gain can put unnecessary pressure on your back and knees. Moreover, you can put yourself at risk for health conditions like stroke, heart disease, and different types of cancers.
The bottom line? While it does get more difficult to maintain our weight as we age, it's not impossible. As long as you're in a healthy weight range, try not to get frustrated with a few extra pounds. Stay vigilant with regular exercising, healthy food choices, and you should do fine.
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