Getting older can make you incredibly nostalgic about your younger years when you felt like you had the energy to do just about anything, maybe even take on the world. With each birthday that passes, you begin to realize the natural changes your body is going through – some more challenging to accept than others. For example, you’ve probably heard that your metabolism slows down as you age, which can make your weight loss efforts a complete and utter chore. But groundbreaking research put this explanation to the test and found it to be a total lie. (Well, at least when you’re in your twenties, all the way up to your 60s!) Keep reading to learn more about why your metabolism may not actually slow down as you ageand then don’t miss the 5 best-kept secrets for losing weight after 60, trainer says.
Don’t attribute your middle-aged weight gain to a slowed metabolism.
Herman Pontzer, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University and author of Burn: New research blows the lid off how we actually burn calories, stay healthy and lose weight, and a renowned team of scientists investigated the impact of a person’s body size and age on the amount of energy expended each day. This study, published in the journal Sciencewas the first comprehensive study of its kind.
As expected, Pontzer entered Scientific American, “Metabolism increases with body size.” So if you have a bigger body, you burn more calories. But perhaps the most interesting part of the study? The metabolic rate does not actually decrease when one reaches middle age. In fact, your metabolism remains stable from age 20 to age 60.
The study found that a person’s metabolism remains at an elevated rate throughout childhood, gradually declines during adolescence, and returns to “adult levels” by age 20. Now get ready for your mind to blow all over. According to Pontzer, “Perhaps the biggest surprise was the stability of our metabolism into middle age. Daily energy expenditure remains remarkably stable between the ages of 20 and 60. No slowdown in middle age, no change with menopause. The weight gain that so many of us experience in adulthood cannot be attributed to a declining metabolism.”
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There is still a link between aging and a reduced metabolism, but that only comes later in life.
The team did find a link between age and a reduced metabolism, but that only applies to your 60th birthday and beyond. When you turn 60, your metabolism declines by 7% every 10 years. “By the time men and women reach their 90s, their daily expenditures average 20 to 25 percent less than adults in their 50s. That’s after taking into account body size and composition,” Pontzer wrote.
This “metabolic roadmap,” as Pontzer called it, really paves the way for further research when it comes to maintaining a fast metabolism into your older years.