If you’re over the age of 40 and you’re struggling to get fit, you’re not alone. By now you’ve heard the age-old saying that your metabolism slows down after 40, but is there any truth to it?
According to Erica Stepteau, a health coach at Cleveland Clinic, it is true that the body’s metabolism changes as we age, but there is a reason why this happens.
“After 40, your metabolism does actually start dropping a little bit, but it’s not in the way that you think,” said Stepteau. “It’s because we are dropping the actual muscle mass in our body three to five percent every decade after you’re thirty years old.”
Stepteau said that loss of muscle mass taps into the body’s energy source, which makes it more difficult to keep burning fat. This is why after age 40, some people will begin to see some weight gain as they find themselves doing the same exercises that they were doing in their 20s and 30s but not getting the same results. The good news is that it’s possible to beat the metabolism ‘Drop-off.’ Even if you haven’t been very active in your 20s or 30s, Stepteau recommends starting with a moderate exercise such as brisk walking or stair climbing. Keeping the blood flowing goes a long way towards the prevention of cardiovascular and other diseases.
Stepteau said people can stay ahead of the metabolism curve by picking up a few weights and adding some resistance training with an exercise band to their workout routine as they get older.
“In your 40s it is critical to pick up a couple of weights and just so that you can create the muscle mass and keep restoring it because you are losing it every decade naturally,”
said Stepteau. “We’re all going in that same direction.”
Stepteau said that nutrition also plays a key role in staying fit after 40. She recommends eating a balanced diet with proteins, fats, a little bit of carbs and good minerals and vitamins from fruits and veggies.
“When you’re exerting energy out of your body you want to make sure that you restore those calories and restore those components of the nutrition,” said Stepteau.