How to Avoid a Midlife Metabolism Slump

Aging is a natural and inescapable part of life. It alters one’s physical, mental and sometimes, emotional state. Most experience gradual bodily changes that influence what they eat and how it’s absorbed. For those age 50 and up, the metabolism can slow, leading to weight gain, chronic fatigue and even depression.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism refers to a process that encompasses all bodily chemical reactions. This includes the ability to burn calories and energy through digestion, exercise, sleep and other basic functions.

What causes a slow metabolism?

Although everybody’s different, there are common factors that can reduce or damage the metabolism. As people grow older, muscle mass decreases causing the metabolic rate to slow. This makes it more difficult to lose or maintain a healthy weight.

Also, the digestive system heavily depends on gastric juice (stomach acid) to break down food and absorb vital nutrients. Unfortunately, older adults experience a significant loss of production. Side effects can include bloating, constipation, heart burn, nausea and vomiting.

Ways to prevent a metabolic slump

  • Monitor Medications: Certain medications can have a negative impact on eating habits and the scale. Some long-term prescriptions may inadvertently increase appetite, fat storage and water retention. Contact your primary care physician to discuss biological changes due to an ongoing medication.
  • Get Moving: When it comes to the metabolism, resistance training is key. Building and maintaining muscle will keep the body’s internal furnace burning. It’s recommended older adults engage in 150 minutes of exercise per week, focusing not only on aerobic activity but including balance training and muscle-strengthening activities. If that’s not possible, choose a realistic time frame relative to your fitness level.
  • Make Dietary Adjustments: Muscle loss can also be avoided through a high-protein diet. In addition to regular exercise, it’s important to consume nutrient-dense foods that support daily functions. For example: Protein contains essential amino acids that help build and repair tissue, hormones and enzymes. Fiber aids digestion by promoting absorption and expelling waste out of the system.
  • Be Realistic: The best way to deal with aging is to embrace it. It’s scientifically impossible to have the same body at 50 that you had at 25. Focus on being the best version of yourself, today. Acknowledge the changes as they occur and work with them. No one can turn back the clock, so make the most of the present.

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Photo credit: Lordn

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