A Fateful Decline in Metabolism With Age — One Thing You Should

Cute baby sitting down

One thing about a declining metabolism you should know

Remember back in your youth when you seemed to consume a mountain full of food with no consequences? During my 20s, I found myself relatively lean through a different phase of my life. But then wondered how I was so small — considering the junk food I ate. Compared to my diet and exercise regime now, a lot has changed. That change comes part and parcel of weight loss, gain, stress, pregnancy, endometriosis and, of course, the big one — age. As you age, your body loses its ability to function as it did once before. That may be true in a small sense, but you will be pleasantly surprised after I tell you something insightful that I just came across. An international team of scientists analysed the average calories burned by more than 6K people. Age groups ranged from one week old until the 95 age group. Many different countries were also targeted. It’s important to mention that other large scale studies focus on the energy expenditure used for essential vital functions, like breathing, pumping blood and digesting food. That only accounts for 50–70 per cent of the calories we burn daily. In addition, studies don’t include the energy we use to walk, exercise, think, and even fidget. Measurements were conducted via a urine test. So, do you want to guess who’s metabolism was at peak level? Perhaps you are like me and have suspected it would be teenagers — given how much food they eat. Maybe you assume those in their 20s are at their peak of fat burning potential? Well, it’s infants! Babies grow rapidly during their first year of life, burning their calories up to 50 per cent faster for their body size than adults. Growth spurts for teenagers don’t require an increase in calories. People’s metabolisms are most stable from their 20’s right up until their 50’s. So calorie needs during pregnancy didn’t seem to grow more than expected. Our metabolisms don’t seem to decline until we reach the 60s and above. That decline is gradual. People in their 90s need 26 per cent fewer calories each day than someone in mid-life. Losing muscle as we age contributes to the blame for metabolism decline. Our cells also seem to slow down after the age of 60. More studies are needed to deepen our understanding of the details. It would be beneficial to specify just how much activity — such as weight training and lifestyle factors, comes into play after 60. I would love to see more research on that. 

Key take away

From this study, I will focus on weight training, lifestyle habits and proper nutrition to make the most of life as I age. These are always the key to keeping your health in check and increasing your metabolism. Read more about this study here

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