How does age affect weight loss?
Weight loss is something that seems to get harder later in life. There is a range of reasons for it! Weight loss is more than achievable, though, at practically any age. Once you know the reasons why you may be struggling, it becomes easier for you to manage it in a healthy way.
It may seem that the older you get, the more weight you put on, and that seems to be just something generally accepted. The reasons behind it though are not actually age-related, but more attitude and lifestyle related. It’s vital to continue making and maintaining healthy habits throughout your whole life, not just in later years. This way, you can make sure that you are the healthiest version of yourself and not putting yourself at an increased risk of illness or diseases.
There are three main contributors to weight gain through ageing:
- Muscle deterioration;
- Difficulty exercising;
They all take their toll on your body, and they tend to feed each other to cause weight gain at a consistent level. Once you know more about them, they are easier to act upon, so let’s look at them individually.
As you age, your muscle mass begins to diminish. It usually kicks in in your 30s or 40s, but the less active you are, the quicker it happens. Muscle mass requires calories to maintain, so as you lose this mass, you need fewer calories to function daily. This occurs whether you’re looking at your resting energy expenditure or your needs through exercising too. The issue with this is that your calorie intake doesn’t always drop when your muscle mass does. This gives you plenty of time to turn these calories you don’t need into stored fat. That’s the first stage of the weight gain.
As your muscles deteriorate, exercise actually gets harder to do. The less you do it, the more limited you become. You lose motion range, flexibility, stamina and muscle mass as time goes on. Even when you are being active or doing exercise, it can be a lot more difficult than it used to be. If exercise is harder to do, you do less of it. Just like that, we have another huge contributor to weight gain.
The final pillar of how age affects weight loss is the lifestyle that comes along with it. It can be for several reasons, but it’s often a combination of the above factors too. As time goes on, or you have children, grandchildren, or even as you retire, your lifestyle changes. Dramatically at that. You don’t live like you used to, and a lot of the time, you tend to enjoy ‘relaxing’ a lot more. You may not have to do all the things you did at work, which burned calories without you knowing, or you may need the extra time to wind down. Either way, you're not as active as you used to be. That, of course, often leads to weight gain and making weight loss harder.
All these factors are understandably natural as well. What it means for you is that extra effort is even more important than it used to be. You don’t have to train for a marathon or anything extreme but exercising just a few minutes daily can do your weight loss a world of good, and help you keep in the best shape that you can. The daily recommended guidelines suggest 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly when you can, so see which parts of your life can accommodate it and make time if you need to.
Check out our fundamentals of weight loss article for more information and do your best to find the balance of a happy life and a healthy life.
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.