Of course our metabolism changes as we age, along with most everything else. But what are the reasons, and can they be altered?
Easily stated metabolism is used to describe all chemical reactions involved in maintaining the living state of the cells and the organism. They help keep you alive.
Metabolism can be divided into two categories:
Catabolism – the breakdown of nutrients and molecules to obtain and support energy to support all body functions;
Anabolism – the synthesis of molecules needed by the cells, such as muscle protein.
Your metabolism also refers to how many calories you burn in a day. When our metabolism slows as we age, this is due to muscle loss, less active lifestyles, and a natural aging of the metabolic process. Also, our bodies do not metabolize nutrients in our foods as efficiently, which can cause a spike in our blood glucose levels after we eat a meal.
This is why it seems to be easier to gain weight as we age, and harder to lose it when we do.
But there are changes we can make to increase our metabolism:
1). Stay Active – American Heart Association recommends just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, of moderate intensity exercise or activity. Also shown to help metabolism is reducing the time you are sedentary with brief bouts of movement. Just taking a five minute walk or even standing while sitting for long periods of time helps.
2). Build Muscle – Strength training and resistance training are going to preserve and grow your muscle mass. So not only does strength training help muscles, it helps maintain the integrity of the bone, improve overall balance and coordination, and mobility.
3). Good Diet – Eating a diet high in protein, fiber-rich foods, low in processed sugars, and drink plenty of water. This will all help fuel your body’s metabolism. Also make sure you are eating plenty of food. When we do not eat enough, our bodies go into starvation mode.
Then our muscle is used as fuel, which as we age we can not spare. If you do not have a big appetite and are not consuming enough calories, try eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
4). Sleep – It tends to get harder to sleep as we age. One study found that four hours of sleep reduced metabolism by 2.6% compared to 10 hours of sleep. Fortunately, a night of long sleep (12 hours) helped restore metabolism. A few tips to help you sleep: have the same sleep/wake schedule; avoid electronics and blue-light one hour before bed; keep the bedroom quiet, dark, and cool; avoid naps, caffeine, and other stimulants in the afternoon.
Although metabolism slows as we age, there are many ways to combat this. Staying active, eating right, building muscle, and getting great sleep will all help your overall health, as well as build your metabolism.
Try adding one or two into your daily routine to see how much better you feel and know all the good you are doing for your insides too!
Stay happy, healthy, and positive always!