Everyone notices small changes in their body as they age. Changes can depend on several factors. Genetics plays a strong role, however even with a family history of obesity, the choices you make in diet and exercise can greatly influence whether you’ll have the same weight problems that your parents may have. How you manage your metabolism can have a big impact on our weight and ageing process.
Changes in hormones can cause body fat to accumulate in the abdominal area, especially in women. As we age we also experience a slow decline in muscle mass and our Basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is a measure of how many calories a body uses in a day.
As many of us have already noticed, muscle mass decreases as we age. Adults can lose 3%-5% of muscle mass per decade, and the decline increases to 1%-2% per year after age 50. Muscle keeps us strong, it burns calories and helps us maintain our weight, and it is also an essential contributor to our balance and bone strength.
With muscle mass accounting for a large portion of daily metabolic rate, any loss of this tissue reduces the amount of calories burned through BMR each day. If you are not exercising regularly then your muscle mass and BMR will be effected at a greater rate. Over time, if you don’t adjust to your body’s natural slow down by taking in less calories you’ll see a slow increase in fat.
The effects of ageing can be offset to a degree by increasing physical activity (both cardiovascular and strength training), reducing fat intake and increasing your complex carbohydrates and fibre intake. The goal is to keep your internal engine going with a consistent exercise program, and giving it high quality fuel.
Aerobic exercise is going to boost your metabolic rate during activity and for a short bonus period of time afterward. A HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout is great for this. HIIT is a training technique where you use one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise. Followed by short, less-intense recovery periods or even complete rest. The focus is on getting your heart rate up and keeping it there which burns fat in less time. And, you’ll still be burning fat even after you’ve stopped training.
The extra calories you burn from a daily exercise routine can add up to substantial fat loss over time. It’s easy to think that we are too busy to get the benefits from training however, exercising for as little as 30 minutes, three days a week can help keep your bones strong and slow age related bone loss.
After adding regular cardio, it’s time to start strength training which will build muscle mass and increase your daily metabolic rate. Adding both aerobic and strength training exercise to your fitness schedule can help slow down any age related decline in muscle mass and it will keep your BMR burning fuel.
Exercise is only part in an overall healthy lifestyle commitment. Diet plays a massive role in age related body changes. Try to eat a diet that is rich in whole foods and food products that are minimally processed and do not contain artificial ingredients. When it comes to your diet and weight; if you take in more calories than your burning, those calories will be stored as fat, but if you take in less calories than you burn each day you’ll lose fat.
It’s important that the calories you are getting isn’t just from things like pizza and burgers. While it is technically true that you can simply burn the amount of calories through your exercise to offset that food, if you eat more natural ingredients then you'll consume more vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other important compounds that are functionally important for every cell in your body. You'll also feel more energized, reduce your risk of diseases, improve your fertility, and even improve the health of your hair, skin, and nails, since you're filling the nutritional gaps in your diet.
Try eating small, frequent meals to boost metabolism and avoid storing more calories from each meal and slowing your metabolic rate. And, remember to always eat breakfast, it will increase your metabolic rate by up to 5%.
Make a commitment to your fitness and wellbeing. This is your year to get healthy or to take your training to the next level. Shake off the winter blues because spring is here and it’s time to get moving!!