Why We Gain Weight As We Age Most people think that gaining weight and getting older go hand in hand. Recent studies tell us that's just not true. That means, unfortunately, the jig is up and you now have no excuse for being overweight (the exception being those with medical conditions, etc.). Here are the major reasons for putting on the pounds:
- Being less active
- Not maintaining muscle through strength training
- Eating more calories, even as metabolism slows down
- Gradual loss of body cells which leads to burning fewer calories while at rest
To sum up, while there are some elements we can't control, most of the weight gain that comes with aging can be avoided. Did you get that? WEIGHT GAIN IS NOT INEVITABLE AS WE AGE.
What You Can Do The main reason for muscle loss (which lowers metabolism) is that it's fun to sit around and watch TV and play on the computer. If we spend too much time doing that when we're younger, it's that much harder to STOP doing that when we get older. It follows that being active (and lifting weights) will help preserve your muscle and increase your bone density while maintaining a higher metabolism. To avoid weight gain or to lose some extra padding, I'm afraid your sitting-around days are over. Not only will you have to stand up, but you'll also have to do the following:
- Exercise regularly. Squeeze in at least 30 minutes of activity every day and include structured workouts such as walking, running, swimming, etc. at least 3 days a week.
- Lift weights. To get started, go to the Beginner's Corner and get educated about what a complete program looks like. For ideas on workouts, visit Workout Central. You'll want to lift weights 2-3 times a week, but you only need 20 or so minutes.
- Eat healthy. Try eating 5-6 small meals every 3-4 hours to boost metabolism and keep you satisfied. Don't starve yourself, but recognize that your body will need less calories as you get older.
- Be realistic. As you get older, it will take longer to lose weight, so don't expect a Britney Spears body overnight (or ever...unless you already ARE Britney Spears). Give yourself time and try to set reasonable goals of improved health and strength.