As we get older, our bodies change and adapt, becoming less efficient. As we get slower, so does our metabolism, although this actually starts when we’re in our twenties. This is the process that converts calories into energy, also affecting blood circulation, nerve functions and of course, breathing. Its biggest and most significant part is BMR or basal metabolic rate, which equals between fifty and seventy percent of daily energy.
Life proceeds more quickly when we’re young, although we don’t necessarily notice it. Growth spurts, both physical and mental, demand more energy which the body supplies by eating and drinking. At the same time, this higher rate of activity translates as a lower fat mass. Ageing causes us to slow down gradually, even if we’re not aware of it at first, decreasing the metabolic rate. At this stage, our muscle mass, unfortunately, begins to turn into stored fat, particularly if we are finding less time for physical activities. It has been estimated that BMR goes down by one to two percent for every ten years of our lives after we reach forty-five, with hormonal and neurological developments also affecting fat levels. So it’s no wonder that we gain pounds and stones, and weight loss becomes harder.
This happens naturally and can’t be stopped, but it can be reversed somewhat and managed to optimise health, enabling us to maintain a pleasant lifestyle. Exercise is very important, and aerobics are particularly useful, as this involves common activities that are already a part of our daily lives, such as walking, swimming and cycling. In addition, it can be split into short periods during your normal routine and doesn’t have to seem like an extra chore. Dancing is another enjoyable pastime (for some!), and can even be done at any time in your own home if you prefer. Weight training can be especially effective in increasing the metabolic rate because muscle mass is more active than fat and disposes of more calories – use it or lose it, as they say.
A balanced diet with plenty of liquid is essential for weight loss, but don’t overdo it, or you could find yourself piling on the pounds instead. Your body will assume that you’re starving, your metabolism will slow to cope with it, and you’ll be back where you started. Kicking off the day with a proper breakfast will actually help you to be slim, because your metabolism, which slows overnight, needs a boost. For the rest of the day, try snacking at intervals (healthily, of course!) rather than set blow-out meals. Check your intake of protein and fibres, too – it’s harder work for the body to digest these than fat and carbohydrates, so you’ll burn off more calories.
Too little sleep will also adversely affect your metabolism, which will adapt to conserve energy, so establish a routine that suits you. Naps or just rest and some “me time” will help to keep stress levels down, too, with the added advantage of keeping signs of ageing at bay.
Following these simple tips will help you to manage your weight loss and improve your general health. You’ll enjoy a better quality of everyday living, increasing your chances of a longer life. Higher energy levels will allow you to reclaim a more youthful lifestyle, so you won’t have to act your age if you don’t want to!