The Truth About How Your Metabolism Changes As You Age | SELF

Good Evening…..Thanks to all of you who attended our meeting on Monday! We had a great turnout and Dr. Helms gave an excellent talk and his personal trainer demonstrated some great core exercises. As you all know by now, there are differences of opinions when it comes to certain aspects of training, particularly in older runners.
     Mike downplayed stretching as significant and as we have learned earlier this year, stretching for older runners is very important. We did talk about avoiding static stretching and discussed using AIS stretching instead, which many of you have done!
     In addition to the core exercises, we also discussed with Dr. Watters the importance of Glute exercises. Further we talked a lot about the importance of cross-training the whole body with resistance weight training. In fact, there is some new research I read that in a study of 30,000 individuals over 65, those that did a full body resistance program at the gym 2 days a week had a 46% less chance of early death! There appears to be a relationship between body muscle mass and health in general as well as balance specifically. i have been to the gym with several of you and am available to go with anyone else. Even if you have a gym routine, it might help to be taught some of the things that i have been doing along with better technique and breathing. I really enjoy doing this so please do not be shy!!
     Below is an excellent article that describes and defines metabolism. The article makes a difficult subject easy to understand and explains the reasons for watching your eating and exercising as you age.
    And last…..we will not be meeting in December but will begin again with meetings after the first of the year. We started this journey together last January and have had 11 meetings. I truly appreciate all the support and friendship. This is a labor of love and one of my retirement goals. i have met so many interesting people with fascinating life stories. I am excited to begin a new year and would like your input….both what you liked and did not like!! Also, let me know suggestions for programs and speakers. I have had requests to have speakers talk about Pilates, Yoga and Cycling. I also want to have a physical therapist and a massage therapist. Let me know if there are other areas that we need to explore. Learning together is such fun!!
     I have gained a new family this year! Keep letting me know about your training, races and accomplishments!! And i will continue to send out articles and information. And remember our gaol…..RUN FOREVER INJURY FREE!!!!   Happy Thanksgiving!

The Truth About How Your Metabolism Changes As You Age

No matter what your metabolism is like in your teens and 20s, you’ve probably been told that it’s all just downhill once you hit 30. “Wait until you hit 30,” or “You won’t be able to eat like that once you hit 30,” are commonly dispensed tidbits of “advice” from our elders. This makes it seem like an internal switch is flipped once we hit the big 3-0, and our bodies just stop knowing how to use energy efficiently. While there is truth to the notion that many people’s metabolisms slow down with age, it’s not as simple as pinpointing one specific birthday upon which everything changes.

“It is an actual fact that metabolism changes over time,” Kristen F. Gradney, R.D., director of nutrition and metabolic services at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF. But, rest assured, you’re not going to just wake up one morning with a drastically slower metabolism. “It happens more progressively over time,” she says. That’s because it’s preempted by hormonal shifts that happen slowly as we go through life—not overnight.

And while we can’t avoid these natural changes that come with age, we can do some things to push them off a bit. Here, experts explain what’s actually happening when your metabolism slows down, and what lifestyle habits you can adopt to resist it for longer.

Metabolism is the complex biological process our bodies perform to turn the calories we eat and drink into energy.

Even when we’re just sitting around doing nothing, our bodies need energy for basic things like breathing, adjusting hormones, and repairing cells. The amount of calories we burn at rest is called our basal metabolic rate. You can use an online calculator to find yours, or get it measured in a doctor’s office. While the calories you burn each day can vary drastically depending on how active you are, your BMR stays pretty consistent. It’s regulated by hormones. Everyone’s is different, depending on things like genetics, age, gender, and body composition. As we age, “there are actual real hormonal changes that take place in our body that then affect the way we store fat and lose fat,” Gradney explains. “Our metabolic rate actually decreases because of these differences in hormones.”

Thirty gets tossed around as the magic number, but realistically, you can expect the biggest changes to happen closer to menopause.

The epic slowdown usually happens later than we think. Gradney says, “Menopause is more the indicator of when it happens, which is around 50 on average.” While multiple hormones are important for regulating metabolism, the decrease in estrogen around menopause makes a big impact.

We also lose muscle mass as we age, which alters how much energy our bodies burn.

The pituitary gland’s production of growth hormone also slows more noticeably as we age, according to Harvard Health. Growth hormone stimulates cell growth, and is especially important as we’re young and, yes, growing. But throughout our entire lives, the hormone is used to build muscle mass, boost protein production, and effectively utilize fat. As growth hormone decreases, your body can't make or maintain muscle as well, and it can impact how efficiently your body breaks down calories, Jackie Baumrind, M.S., C.D.N., a dietician at Selvera Wellness, tells SELF.

Shifts in other hormones and other age-related changes like cell damage and inflammation, can further lead to sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss. Muscle fibers may break down faster and be built back up more slowly. “Muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat mass,” Baumrind says, which means that it demands more energy from our bodies to maintain itself. Less muscle mass means our bodies will burn fewer calories at rest.

Weight gain in your 30s can be due partly to a changing metabolism, but it’s likely some other things are to blame.

Gradney says your metabolism may start to decline very slowly in your 30s and 40s, but lifestyle changes during this time (that you may not even know you’re making) are usually more responsible for weight gain. “Most people at 20 are a lot more active than when at 30,” says Gradney. “Evaluate what your level of physical activity has been over time and maintain that,” she suggests. If your lifestyle has changed—maybe you just had a baby (which comes with its own set of hormonal changes) or got a big promotion and are working more hours—that may mean getting creative and sneaky about fitting in activity. Same thing goes for healthy eating.

The good news: Being physically active and taking care of your body can keep your metabolism working faster for longer.

Your genetics matter, of course, but the way you take care of yourself also makes a difference. “If you have good genes but don’t exercise or eat right, there’s still the risk that you could see that decline earlier,” says Gradney. “The best thing to do is to remain physically active, maintain muscle mass, and have a good diet. If you do those things, that progressive decline will be slower.” If genetics are on your side and you make the effort to maintain healthy habits over the years, she says you can stave off big metabolism changes until you approach your 60s or for some, even early 70s. Thirty shmirty.