Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I'm Too Old for This $#^%: Metabolism and Aging

Okay, I'm not actually old. But when I turn 37 in June, I will be the oldest I have ever been! And while age is just a number and we're only as old as we feel...let me tell you my friends, I am feeling old.

Mostly because its come to my attention in the past six months or so that as I approach my 40s, everything that I have heard about aging and metabolism, all of those things that I know and understand but have doggedly assumed would not actually happen to moi, are in fact happening.

It's taking my body longer to snap back into shape after a vacation. I'm having to work a lot harder at maintaining my weight, much less trying to shave off a few pounds when I want to. And, I am starting to see wrinkles on my face! The wrinkles I could actually not care much less about. But the waistline is another story.

Is middle-aged weight gain inevitable? Is it something we have to accept? Well, as in most things the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Hopefully not my middle.

But yes, we do lose muscle cells as we age. And yes, those muscle cells do get tired and less efficient. That's why strength training is important at any age, but especially as we age.

But does our metabolism slow down as we age? Yes and no. Metabolism is determined by how effective our bodies are at burning calories. And since we lose muscle cells as we age, and more muscle means more calorie burning, we often see a decrease in our calorie-burning potential because of that decreased muscle. Not necessarily age.

But you know, when it comes to a slower metabolism, I'm not all that concerned with the "why?" as with the "how do I fix this?"

The answer is what you probably think I am going to say: keep building muscle! 

What this means for me is a few things:

1. Stop expecting to be able to fudge my calories on the weekend or on vacation and then snap back into shape a week later. That rubber band has lost its spring. 

2. Keep workouts focused on building muscle, not burning calories. Include strength training - challenging strength training - in your workout no matter how old you are.

3. Watch this video frequently and laugh about the whole stupid thing!

Wherever you are in the aging process, no matter how springy your rubber band is, and even if you are just getting started in this health thing, just get out there and get healthy!

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