While it may be true that your metabolism slows down with age, it is also true that you can take steps to speed it up in order to burn more fat. On average, people over forty can lose about a half pound of muscle per year. This loss is mainly caused by the natural decline in activity. As muscles are used less, eventually they begin to atrophy. Since muscle requires more calories to work than fat, this loss can equate to less calorie burn and a surplus of fat. The good news is that persons of any age can rev up their metabolism motor and do things that burn excess fat.
· Weight train. By nature, muscle cells use many more calories in a resting state that fat cells do. Weight training is an easy way to build additional muscle and tone the muscle you already have. In a nutshell, weight training helps to increase resting metabolic rate by keeping muscles from wasting away from lack of use. In addition, your metabolism remains in overdrive long after your weight training session is over. Simple weight training can be performed with comfortable, light, hand weights. In addition strength training can be accomplished with simple exercises such as push-ups, lunges or squats.
· Drink water. Most people don’t drink enough water but getting your daily hydration requirements may be more important to your metabolism than previously thought. Researchers have determined that by replacing all other beverages with water, you can increase your metabolic rate by about 3%. According to the American Journal of Physiology ‘” Endocrinology and Metabolism, other studies suggest that drinking 17 ounces of water within a 10 minute period increases the metabolic rate in both men and women by a whopping 30%. What are the implications? In general, drinking only water over the course of a year could equate to as much as five pounds of fat loss.
· Reduce stress. A high stress lifestyle has been proven to contribute to abdominal fat. As the body is subjected to chronic stress, the blood maintains an abnormally high level of cortisol, a stress hormone that slows metabolic function, suppresses the immune system, and stimulates the appetite. Daily activities such as meditation, yoga, listening to music or deep breathing exercises help to reduce stress.
· Eat breakfast. Your metabolism can be compared to a car motor and the food that you consume is the fuel. Your metabolism naturally picks up upon awakening from sleep and the fuel you put into your tank will correlate to how much energy you have for the rest of the day. When you eat a good breakfast, you give your body fuel for more activity. The general guidelines for older people are to eat a hearty breakfast, a moderate lunch and a light supper. Light snacks in between meals will help keep the metabolic fire burning, as well.
· Include protein at every meal. Since the body works harder and uses more calories to break down protein, it makes sense to include a little at every meal. Be careful to keep calories from protein at about 20-35% of your diet. Too much protein can cause kidney strain.
It’s true that metabolism does slow with age, but people of all ages can make modifications in their exercise routines and lifestyles to compensate for this natural occurrence.