You’re probably aware that your body will undergo metabolism changes with age, but you might be surprised by a lot of the reasons why. It isn’t just aging—things like moving to a new location, getting married, starting a new job, and having a baby can alter both our daily habits and our body chemistry, ultimately affecting our metabolism and how we gain or lose weight.
If you find that you’re more sedentary these days, or you’re simply getting older, you may be experiencing slow metabolism symptoms. Let’s talk about how our metabolism changes with age and our lifestyle choices, as well as what you can do to counteract a slow metabolism.
Nutritionists and healthcare practitioners often point to metabolic age, the number of calories your body burns at rest, as a marker of your overall metabolism. This number is calculated using your weight and age, and ideally, it should be lower than or equal to your physical age. Knowing your metabolic age can be an important tool in combating weight gain, but generally, if you lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle, your metabolism should follow suit.
Slow Metabolism Symptoms and Causes
A slow metabolism is less effective at converting food into energy (burning calories). You may eat as much as you did before, but your body won’t burn it off as quickly, leading to weight gain. Your metabolism will likely decrease with age to a certain degree no matter what, but bad habits can accelerate the process. Common causes of a slower metabolism include:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Eating too few calories
- Not moving around enough throughout the day
- Drinking too many sugary beverages
- A lack of sufficient strength training
Counteracting a Slow Metabolism
A slow metabolism isn’t permanent. In fact, there are many changes you can make in a day to kickstart a lagging metabolism. For starters, make sure you get about eight hours of high-quality sleep, meaning REM sleep, every night. REM sleep rejuvenates your brain and body. When you wake up after a full night of sleep, don’t skip breakfast! Start your day with some fat-fighting, metabolism-surging foods, like Greek yogurt. Eating a small, healthy meal in the morning spurs your metabolism into action for the day, giving you energy until bedtime.
Once you’ve had your healthy breakfast (and maybe a cup of black coffee or green tea), get in some cardio or strength training. Strength training builds muscle, which burns fat, and should be done for about 20 minutes a day to boost metabolism. Cardio also burns calories—you need about 45 minutes a day to experience the benefits.
Throughout the rest of your day, focus on consuming lean proteins, drinking lots of water, and getting in plenty of movement. Be mindful of the foods you’re eating, prioritizing those that help your metabolism soar instead of sag. Things like meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds can give you a boost in just a few hours, while chili peppers and spices are healthy ways to add flavor. If you lead a busy life, it can be hard to choose healthy foods in the moment. We suggest setting aside a few hours at the start of each week to plan and prepare several days’ worth of healthy, metabolism-boosting meals.
If you’re curious about supplements and their effects on metabolism, a probiotic is a great option to explore. Just like the Greek yogurt you had for breakfast, probiotics balance the bacteria in your gut, helping to increase your metabolism. Just make sure you do your research first! There are lots of options for probiotics, not all of them equally great, so be mindful about choosing the right one for you. (Look for options that have more than a billion active cultures.)
Improve Your Metabolism to Improve Your Life
Maintaining a fast metabolism benefits everyone, of course, but it’s especially important if you’re gearing up for an HD Body Sculpting procedure. Healthy and active candidates are the best candidates for safe and effective body sculpting treatments, and the fitter you are, the better results you’ll see. Yes, metabolism changes and decreases with age, but that doesn’t mean you can’t counteract it to stay healthy. Remember: Prioritize good sleep, healthy proteins, and regular movement. If you need a little extra help, we’re here.
McKay has a love and passion for health and physical aesthetics. He went to Utah State on a full-ride academic scholarship, majoring in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Exercise Science and Sports Nutrition. McKay is currently the CMO of Belle Medical, a competitive bodybuilder, and a Certified Personal Trainer and Dietitian. When he’s not reading up on the latest breakthroughs in health and fitness research, he’s working hard to set trends of his own. Most importantly, McKay truly believes that with proper eating habits, training, and the right medical interventions (a la Belle Medical), no physique or personal body goal is out of reach for ANYONE.