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Aging and Weight Gain

Some people—the youngins in particular—may call it an excuse, but the truth is metabolism really does slow down with age.

Research has shown that after age 24, adults typically gain from 0.4 to 1.7 pounds per year, according to studies from the USDA Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University. The problem is that after age 25, we start to lose the lean muscle mass that kept us going during our teens and years of glory.  
While researchers cannot agree about why metabolism slows as people age, one thing is fur sure: Something can be done about it and you can lose weight in your later years.
The first, and probably most obvious, is exercise. Start lifting weights, take a Pilates class or use ten-minute breaks from work to go for a quick walk and you will see an increase in your metabolic rate.
Getting your zzz’s also plays a vital role in upping the metabolism ante. A study published in PloS Medicine showed when people shortchange pillow time, the result is an increase in the hormone ghrelin, which sets off hunger and decreases energy expenditure. The final verdict? Ignoring adequate sleep will leave you de-energized and overeating—not a good combo to keep the metabolism juices flowing.
The last metabolism super-charger comes from changing your eating habits. Researchers have found that as we age, the best chance we have to burn fat, and speed up our metabolism, is to eat five or six very small meals a day. Each meal should be spaced three to three and a half hours apart throughout the day. This way of eating causes the metabolism to work harder than it would if we were just eating three big meals each day. Ideal mini meals include whole grain cereal for breakfast, and snacks of yogurt or a handful of nuts or string cheese between meals. Lunch and dinner options could be salad topped with chicken, or whole grain pasta paired with fish and veggies. [Health News]

Posted: 5/21/08