Why Your Metabolism Slows Down With Age
You've probably been told that as you age, you can't eat like your younger self. That's because your metabolism tends to slow with age, making it easier to add a few extra kilograms and harder to lose them.
A few reasons for this include muscle loss, being less active and the natural aging of your metabolic processes. Luckily, there are many things you can do to combat this age-related drop in metabolism.
What is Your Metabolism?
Simply put, your metabolism is all of the chemical reactions that help keep your body alive. It also determines how many calories you burn per day. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn.
People Tend to Be Less Active With Age
Your activity levels can significantly affect the speed of your metabolism. In fact, activity - both exercise and non-exercise activity - makes up roughly 10-30% of your calories burned daily.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is the calories burned through activity other than exercise. This includes tasks like standing, washing the dishes and other household chores. Unfortunately, older adults are typically less active and burn fewer calories through activity.
People Tend to Lose Muscle With Age
The average adult loses 3-8% of muscle during each decade after 30.
This loss of muscle with age is known as sarcopenia. This slows down your metabolism, as having more muscle increases your resting metabolism. Because muscle mass is affected by your activity level, being less active is one reason why you lose more muscle with age.
Other reasons include consuming fewer calories and protein, as well as a decrease in the production of hormones, such as estrogen, testosterone and growth hormone.
Metabolic Processes Slow Down With Age
How many calories you burn at rest is determined by chemical reactions inside your body.
One of the main chemical reactions comes from the energy-producing part of each cell. Research shows that this loses efficiency with age and thus slows down your metabolism.
Ways to Maintain or Improve Your Metabolic Rate
Try Resistance Training - Resistance training, or weight lifting, is great for preventing a slowing metabolism. It offers the benefits of exercise while preserving muscle mass - two factors that affect the speed of your metabolism.
Get Plenty of Sleep - Research shows a lack of sleep can slow down your metabolism. Fortunately, a good night's rest can reverse this effect.
Eat More Protein-Rich Foods - Eating more protein-rich foods can help fight a slowing metabolism. That's because your body burns more calories while consuming, digesting and absorbing protein-rich foods. This is known as the thermic effect of food.
Make Sure You Eat Enough Food - A low-calorie diet can slow down your metabolism by switching your body into "starvation mode".
Drink Green Tea - Green tea can increase your metabolism by 4-5%. This is because green tea contains caffeine and plant compounds, which have been shown to increase your resting metabolism.