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As you age, your metabolism slows down, and you become less active. That’s just a natural part of the ageing process. But that doesn’t mean you must accept weight gain as inevitable. There are things you can do to lessen the amount of weight you gain as you age.

This article will discuss why weight gain happens as you age and some things you can do to help prevent it.

A woman trying to do up her jeans that are too tight from weight gain.

Age-related weight gain

If you’ve noticed that you’re slowly but surely packing on the pounds as you get older, you’re not alone. In fact, this is an entirely normal and natural phenomenon that happens to everyone and there are a few reasons why it occurs. Don’t let this discourage you, though. Although it may be harder to maintain a healthy weight as you age, it’s certainly not impossible. Here’s a look at why people gain weight as they age:

Loss of Muscle Mass

One of the biggest reasons why people gain weight as they age is because they begin to lose muscle mass. Starting in your 30s, you lose 3-5% of your muscle mass every decade-which leads to a slowdown in your metabolism. This is why it becomes increasingly harder to lose weight and keep it off as you age; your body isn’t working as efficiently as it used to.

Changes in Hormones

As women age and go through menopause, their estrogen levels decrease-which can cause them to retain more fat than they did when they had higher hormone levels. Additionally, decreased estrogen levels lead to a loss of bone density, which can make bones weaker and more brittle. This combination of factors can make it harder for women to stay at a healthy weight as they age.

A Slower Metabolism

As we age, our metabolisms naturally slow down-which can cause us to gain weight even if we’re eating the same amount of food we ate when we were younger. A slower metabolism means that we don’t burn calories as efficiently as we used to; instead, those calories start being stored as fat. This is yet another reason why exercise becomes increasingly important as we age; not only does it help offset muscle loss, but it also helps boost our metabolic rate so that we’re able to burn calories better throughout the day.

A middle-aged woman working out with weights,

Managing weight gain

As mentioned, there are a few different reasons why you may gain weight as you age. But there are also things you can do to manage this weight gain. Here are some tips:

– Get more sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain by affecting hormones that regulate hunger and fullness. So, aim for 7-9 hours of shut-eye each night.

– Exercise regularly. Exercise is vital for maintaining muscle mass, boosting metabolism, and managing weight gain. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

– Eat more fibre. Fibre helps keep you full longer, so you’re less likely to overeat. It also helps reduce inflammation, which has been linked to weight gain. Good sources of fibre include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.

– Avoid sugary drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages like fizzy drinks, juice and sports drinks are a significant source of empty calories that can contribute to weight gain. To cut back on sugary drinks, choose water, unsweetened iced tea or coffee, and sparkling water instead.

– Don’t eat mindlessly. When we eat while we’re doing other things—like watching TV or working at our desks—we tend to eat more than we would if we were paying attention to what we’re putting in our mouths. So, make a conscious effort to be mindful of your eating habits, and you’ll automatically eat less without even thinking about it. Try a diet plate to control portion size.

– Move more often throughout the day. You don’t have to go to the gym daily (although that would be great!) Just make sure you’re getting up and moving around regularly throughout the day. Take a brisk walk in your neighbourhood, do some yoga at home, or go for a bike ride on the weekends—whatever gets you moving! 

The bottom line

Although it’s natural for your metabolism to slow down and for you to become less active as you age, there are things you can do to prevent excessive weight gain. With a little effort, you can keep those extra pounds at bay well into your senior years!

Age-Related Weight Gain: Causes and How to Manage

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