Sarah Joseph M.S., CSCS

Workout Blog

Vance is getting old. Aging and Metabolism

Posted by Sarah on April 17, 2015 at 5:00 AM

This weekend Vance is having a birthday so I thought it might be appropriate to discuss how we can attenuate the effects of aging through proper exercise and nutrition. Without further adieu, let's talk about aging and metabolism! 

Metabolism and Aging

Aging tends to be an unkind process when it comes to human physiology and functioning. You may have noticed some weight gain yourself over the years and I’m going to discuss some possible causes for that.

You’ve heard it before; If you consume more calories than you expend you are likely to gain some weight. There is more at play here than calories in versus calories out but for the purposes of this article, we will regard this to be true. There are three components that determine how many calories you will burn in a day.

1. The first is your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the energy used at rest to power body function. Your BMR is determined by several factors including age, size, gender and lean body tissue (muscle). Each decade, this declines 2-3%. In order to attenuate increases in fat and loss in muscle, a resistance training component is crucial for any exercise program. Muscle tissue consumes three times the number of calories than fat (6 calories per lb muscle per day vs. 2 calories per lb fat per day). Maintaining this muscle will aid in metabolism maintenance.

2. The thermic effect of food is the second contributor to metabolism. This is the energy it takes for your body to digest food. It is unknown how this process changes with aging. Nevertheless, protein and fibrous carbohydrate require more energy to digest than fat. Mainly unsaturated but also saturated fat is still an important part of a healthy diet. The thermic effect of food is the physiologic reason why eating consistent meals will encourage a boost in metabolism (Farshchi, H.R., Taylor, M.A., Macdonald, I.A, 2004). Paid special attention to cite that one because food frequency is a hot topic right now.

3. Lastly, physical activity and exercise accounts for the remaining caloric expenditure of our bodies. Again, research is inconclusive as to whether the amount of calories burned for given activities is actually decreased with aging. At this point it seems likely that there is more of a lifestyle or conscious change to more sedentary behaviors.

We can’t evade aging but eating healthy and exercising will prolong years of health and quality of life. It is never too late to start exercising. You should never feel like you’ve missed the boat on being active. Just because you didn’t exercise when you were younger doesn’t mean that you don’t have the strength to start now. Start gradually. The important thing is that you are consistent and driven to learn what is needed to be done in order for you to reach your goal. In this way you can gain muscle mass while deflecting weight gain, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, hypertension, stroke and a host of other maladies that plague our population.


Categories: Updates, FOOD, Beginners

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