Keeping fit at any age can be a struggle for many people, but particularly as we get older. Scientists have identified the age at which our bodies start experiencing major changes as 45.
According to researchers at the University of Houston, our fitness levels decline gradually as we age especially as our bodies go through key changes such as childbirth or menopause. They also note that people who do nothing to halt the body’s natural decline as we get older, are at much greater risk of developing certain conditions such as obesity, diabetes, increased blood pressure, stroke or heart problems.
But what about those that workout regularly and still struggle to see change? Well, it’s not a myth that weight loss becomes increasingly more difficult as we age. Even people trying to lose just a few pounds will have a harder time at 30 years of age than they did at 20. As the body changes, so should your fitness program.
Throughout the years, our metabolism slows down due to a number of reasons. One is loss of muscle. We lose approximately 1/2 lb of muscle every year after the age of 30. Muscle is what keeps our metabolism revved up, so as we lose it, our metabolism slows down. The key in preventing this is subscribing to a muscle building program at least 3 days a week.
Another key point…serial dieting changes our body composition completely. This means that when we crash diet, go on ‘cleanses’, cut out all carbs, subscribe to starvation diets etc, we tend to lose muscle and water as opposed to fat. As such, the weight tends to come back in the form of fat, not muscle so we ultimately end up with a higher percentage of fat which makes it increasingly harder to lose weight each time we try.
Experts believe that stress can also make it more difficult to lose weight as we age. When the body is under stress, it releases cortisol which is a hormone connected to our responses to stress. And it is often stored as fat in the body when we are in relatively stressful situations.
My advice…limit stress and start being more proactive. Pick up heavier weights, stop crash dieting and eat a nutrient dense, well-balanced natural foods diet.