Staying healthy and feeling your best is important at any age.
There’s no stopping it! We get a little older every day. But growing older doesn’t have to be thought of as a negative thing. With each day we can be more self-confident, relate better to people, and be better at taking care of ourselves, our families, our finances and our homes.
Still, getting older does have its challenges. One of the first outward signs of aging that many of us start to experience as early as our 30s and 40s is a slowing metabolism.
Metabolism is the process by which our body converts what we eat and drink into energy. The rate at which we burn calories is higher for children and adolescents because their bodies need extra calories to grow. The metabolic rate slows and levels off as we become adults.
As metabolism slows, we burn fewer calories so we need to eat less and move more to avoid gaining weight. We may also lose muscle and gain fat as we age. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, the metabolic rate takes another hit.
To a certain extent, body size, age, gender and genes play a role in the speed of our metabolism, but we can make small lifestyle changes to rev it up. Let’s look at a few ways to burn more calories:
Eat more often
Our metabolism speeds up after eating to digest food and turn it into energy. So, eating more often can raise our metabolism and speed up weight loss. Be sure to keep meals smaller in size and lower in calories.
Up your protein intake
Eating a sufficient quantity of protein at each meal is a critical component of maintaining a rapid metabolism. Shoot for 4 ounces of protein at every meal and mix it up! Lean meats, beans, nuts and low-fat dairy are all good sources of protein.
Drink more water
Water can help us lose weight and keep it off. It increases metabolism and helps fill us up before meals.
Vary your exercise routines and add a few high-intensity workouts to boost metabolism and burn fat. Lifting weights is also important for building and retaining muscle.
Get a good night’s sleep
Lower the temperature of your bedroom at night and get plenty of sleep so you’ll have more energy during the day!
Our bodies change as we age, and so should our workouts. Use these guidelines to adjust as you get older:
In your 20’s: Choose activities you enjoy. When you’re young you can get away with doing high-intensity training most days of the week, but it’s important to make time for flexibility and agility training as well.
In your 30’s: Do resistance training at least two or three times a week, and some light to moderate cardio almost every day. Find an activity that gets your heart rate up. Your cardio target heart rate varies as you get older. Visit https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/heart-and-vascular-blog/2018/march/exercise-target-heart-rate to find your personal target heart rate while exercising.
In your 40’s: Switch up your fitness routine. In addition to regular strength training and cardio, include longer workouts or moderate intensity, low impact workouts to burn more fat and calories. Yoga can help manage stress and improve your overall flexibility.
In your 50’s: Choose activities that you enjoy and can do on a frequent basis. Try to include at least one moderate-intensity workout a week. This is a great time to pick up a new activity such as tennis, golf or martial arts because learning new movements stimulates brain development as well as physical development.
In your 60’s: Continue to vary your workouts on a regular basis to use your muscles in different ways.
As we age, the smooth cartilage that protects the ends of bones where they meet a joint often begins to break down, causing pain and stiffness. You can help to prevent joint pain by moving regularly throughout the day.
No matter what your age, warm up and cool down before and after exercise, using the same muscles you’ll use when you work out. It’s also important to make the muscles that support our joints as strong as possible. Maintain or improve muscle strength by weight training. You’ll increase the stability of your joints and increase your muscle mass, which will help maintain your metabolism.
What you eat plays a part in overall joint health, too. A diet that includes lean protein, a mix of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats is recommended for reducing joint inflammation.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Myth. One of the more harmful myths of aging is that after a certain age, it will be more difficult to try anything new. The opposite is true. Middle-aged and older adults are just as capable of learning new things and thriving in new environments, plus they have the wisdom that comes with life experience. If you believe in and have confidence in yourself, you are setting up a positive environment for change no matter what your age.