Metabolism and Midlife

As people age, their metabolism slows and muscle breaks down. Sounds depressing, doesn’t it?! But just because you have hit another decade doesn’t meant that you can’t get in shape or stay in shape. It just means that you have to be smarter about it.

Gone are the days when activity can be relegated to the weekends or just a few times per year. The emergency rooms are full of weekend warriors who strain knees, shoulders or backs because of that pick up softball game or working in the yard.

So what should a person do? Find 10 or 15 minutes a day to do *something*. Maybe that something is a walk after dinner. Maybe it’s a hot yoga class. And maybe it’s a full on strength training workout. But begin moving on a regular basis. Find something that you enjoy and do it.

Metabolism slows approximately 5-10% per decade, so you can’t eat the huge quantities of pizza and beer that you lived on in your 20s without gaining weight. But you can increase your metabolism by increasing the amount of lean muscle mass you have. How do you do that? By strength training! And if you add in some high interval intensity training, the afterburn you get will also burn calories.

Another way to increase your metabolism is to make sure that you eat every few hours, but that doesn’t mean that you can just blindly graze all day. Small meals and snacks that are mostly vegetable and protein with a little bit of healthy fat and a small amount of carbohydrates will help you speed up your metabolism.

And finally, make sure you get enough sleep. Your body needs time to repair muscle and other tissues and make blood cells. Various hormones that signal satiety (the feeling of “fullness”) are linked to a good amount of sleep. Turn off the screens — TV, computer or phone — at least an hour before going to bed. Try and get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

We cannot control the calendar, but we can control our attitudes towards aging. Weight gain is not inevitable. The more we move and the more we focus on the things under our control, the better off we’ll be. Change your attitude, get motivated and move!!

5 Responses to “Metabolism and Midlife”

  1. Susan WilliamsOctober 14, 2013 at 1:52 am #

    All stuff I NEED to do! Thanks, Julia.

  2. Elizabeth LeeOctober 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    I’ve had enough time to recover from my Iliac strain. I think I gained at least 5 pounds this past month. 🙁 Now I need to start moving again. Thanks for the helpful pointers.

    • Julia RobinsonOctober 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

      It’s so hard when you’re injured, isn’t it? Start moving slowly, and take care of yourself!

  3. WendyOctober 14, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this information. It’s hard not to get discouraged when the first time you decide to get physically fit is after your 40th birthday. I can do this. I can stronger and healthier than I was even a decade or more ago.

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