At What Age Does Metabolism Slow Down and Why?

Not so fun fact: Your metabolism slows down as you age. But at what age does your metabolism slow down? Why it happens? And what can you do about it?

Research suggests that its The metabolism remains relatively stable. from age 20 to age 60, at which point it begins to decrease. But don’t throw in the towel once you’ve blown out 60 candles: there are many factors that influence your metabolism, excluding age.

There’s a lot to unpack there, so let’s start with the basics.

What exactly is your metabolism?

Metabolism This is how your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. This usually involves breaking down food into usable constituent parts that your body can use:

  • Proteins They are broken down into amino acids, such as leucine, which is responsible for muscle growth.
  • Fats They are broken down into fatty acids that become the main components of cell membranes, as well as a source of energy.
  • carbohydrates They are broken down into sugars, such as glucose, which provide fuel for muscle contraction and other processes.

These processes occur throughout your digestive tract. Once broken down, these smaller elements reach the body’s cells, where they combine with enzymes to perform any number of body functions, including digestion, temperature regulation, cell repair, and muscle growth.

metabolic processes are both catabolic— in which larger things are broken down into smaller ones, or anabolic – in which smaller things come together to form larger ones.

fat oxidation It is a catabolic process in which fat cells are broken down into fatty acids and metabolized for fuel. Muscle developmentin which amino acids combine to form proteins to help build and repair muscle tissue, it is an anabolic process.

When working well, your metabolism balances anabolic and catabolic actions, known as homeostasis: many things fall apart and accumulate, but the net change is zero.

Why does your metabolism slow down?

Fitness class with various body types |  At what age does metabolism slow down?

Metabolism is often compared to an engine that runs at constant speed. We envy the 140-pound runner because we think she has a fast metabolism. We pity the 350-pound weightlifter, believing she has a slow one.

In truth, your metabolism is less like an engine and more like a thermostat, heating up and cooling down in response to the decisions you make and the things you do. Four main factors determine your speed:

  1. The most important factor, by far, is your resting metabolic rate (RMR) — the numerous processes involved in breathing, circulation, digestion and other functions that occur, unconsciously, 24 hours a day.
  2. The next is Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)or activities of daily living: standing, sitting, typing, walking, cooking, talking.
  3. the following is formal exercise, from gym workouts to weekend runs, sports and yoga classes.
  4. Finally, the thermic effect of food (TEF) — the energy needed to break down food into usable parts.

So if you go for a run, eat a lot, or walk, your metabolism speeds up in response to your muscles and digestive tract’s need for fuel. If you sit down to rest or skip a meal, it slows down.

So our assumptions about the metabolism of our athletes of different sizes are backwards: assuming they are both in homeostasis (neither losing nor gaining weight), the 350-pound strongman, who eats everything in sight, has a much higher metabolism. faster than the 140-pound runner, who watches every bite. The larger athlete consumes calories while the smaller athlete uses relatively few.

A final factor that influences the speed of your metabolism is age. Most people believe that older people gain weight because they have a slower metabolism than younger people.

So it is true?

How much does your metabolism slow down with age?

Mann eats protein bar |  At what age does metabolism slow down?

In fact, some metabolic processes slow down with age. A study carried out on men showed that their sodium-potassium pumpsthat play a role in muscle contraction, decrease approximately 20 percent, resulting in approximately 100 fewer calories burned per day.

Simultaneously, the mitochondria— The engines of your cells. they lose some of their efficiencyresulting in slower calorie burning than you did at age 18 or 20.

But these processes play a much smaller role in metabolic rate than the factors listed above, no matter how old you are. Other study compared the resting metabolic rates of people of different ages. And while he found that the youngest people analyzed burned more calories per day than the older ones, he also found that if differences in gender, muscle mass and fat were controlled, the difference decreased.

Can you change your metabolism?

Athletes of different ages high five |  At what age does metabolism slow down?

The message is clear: if you want to keep your metabolism working as you age, keep moving! Maintain a formal exercise program and, if possible, engage in active hobbies as well. The more you move in and out of the gym, the faster your metabolism works. So fall in love with moving early and keep it that way for life.

Perhaps the best way to fuel the metabolic fire is with strength training, which can help combat age-related muscle loss that can then be associated with a metabolic slowdown. Next in importance is cardiovascular activity, which helps burn fat and gives your metabolism a daily boost. Finally, if you can manage it, increase your NEAT with daily walks and physical hobbies like gardening.

You can also (minimally) increase the thermic effect of food by consuming protein-rich foods. Animal products and high-protein vegetarian sources, such as black beans, require More energy to digest than carbohydrates and fats., which require much less. So emphasize protein in your diet for an extra metabolic boost.

While we’re still exploring the factors that cause your body to burn slightly fewer calories as you age, you can potentially mitigate this slowdown with the right exercise program. A slow metabolism in your later years is not inevitable, but it is up to you to avoid it.

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