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As consumers age, more and more people are noticing that those cheeseburgers and fries they once enjoyed, as teenagers and young adults tend to stick around a bit longer than they used to. Mainly as an extra inch or two around your waistline and hips. Your belt gets tighter and you have to wear larger clothes to accommodate your expanding waistline. There is a reason for this. It has to do with your body’s metabolism and its tendency to slow down as you age.
Maintaining weight is a balancing act between how much energy we consume through food and beverages and how much energy we use. People of all ages spend energy through physical activity such as walking and running but also when we are resting quietly. Many people may find it hard to believe but about two thirds of the energy an average person spends in a day supports this quiet activity, otherwise known as the basal metabolism (BM) which supports all basic processes of life. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the rate at which the body spends energy for these basic processes of life i.e. the higher the BMR one has the more energy they are spending. The BMR tends to be highest in those who are growing and in those with higher lean body mass.
Several factors can decrease our BMR and therefore our metabolism. One such factor is age. As we get older our body composition changes. Lean body mass i.e. muscle, diminishes. This occurs, partly, because specific hormones that influence metabolism become less active as a person ages therefore not creating the same response they once did. Also, as we age, we tend be less physically active, which reflects the loss of lean body mass and therefore, a lowered metabolism.
As our metabolism lowers we need to adjust the balancing act between energy consumed and spent. The body no longer needs as much energy as it once did in our growing years. You will begin to notice that as you age if you continue to consume the same amount of energy as you once did, your consumption and expenditure will no longer be balanced and you will begin to gain weight. Some people get into a habit of eating a certain amount of food at meals. For example, if someone has been eating three eggs, bacon and 2 pieces of toast every morning since they were a teenager, this person will tend to continue eating the same way throughout their adult life. While our bodies are growing and maturing, perhaps this amount of food is okay, however as we age our bodies require less energy to carry out our daily activities. As a result we must adjust our energy consumption for this.
Here are a few tips that everyone can follow to be more aware of the energy they are consuming:
- Meals should be eaten at a table with no distractions, such as a television, so that you can tell when you are full.
- Take your time eating, your body will be able to tell you when its satisfied before it’s too late.
- There is nothing wrong with healthy snacks between meals, which will allow you too avoid binging when it comes time to lunch or dinner.
Although the results from aging on our metabolism cannot totally be stopped, certain steps can be taken to boost your metabolic rate. Regular physical activity, including both cardio and weight bearing exercises can help to maintain and increase lean body mass, which will in turn increase your BMR, burning more energy. A balanced and healthy diet can also aid in maintaining lean tissues.
About The Author:
Kate Richards is a successful author and contributor regarding articles on nutrition and fitness.