Do you miss the days when you could eat an entire pizza and rebound to your average weight without trying too hard? As you get older, you’ll notice that it doesn’t work that way anymore. We understand that metabolism declines with age, but few do make the necessary adjustments.
Our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy we expend while at rest. It’s the amount of calories we expend just by virtue of exiting and it makes up over half of our daily energy expenditure. That makes it the largest portion of our metabolism. Although we can’t avoid the decrease of age-related metabolism, we can influence the speed at which it occurs. Follow these 10 tips to help maintain basal metabolic rate as you get older.
Do cardio daily
Insufficient exercise leads to a reduction of 5 or more pounds of muscle mass every year. Cardio mitigates this by burning calories and helping you stay minimally active. Walking, jogging, cycling, etc. for 30 minutes are all simple ways to ease into other physical activities. Gradually increasing the intensity in small intervals improves your endurance and stamina for future activities. Click here for more easy cardio exercises.
Commit to strength training
Studies note that amping your lean muscle mass is one of the most useful ways to improve your metabolism. In contrast to cardio, weight and resistance training builds muscle in conjunction to shedding visceral fat (located between your organs). High intensity interval training allows you to burn double or triple the amount of calories per minute than cardio. The best part is that strength training helps you continue to burn calories even after your workout has ended.
Eat more protein
A complementary step in accordance to your level of physical activity is increasing your protein intake. Older people are more likely to develop sarcopenic obesity where they lose lean muscle mass and gain more fat. Protein addresses this by assisting muscle growth and repair on the cellular level.
Another key component of muscle building and repair is sleep. Most people unsurprisingly don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can promote fat storage and impede your ability to lose fat later. This affects your metabolism because fat isn’t metabolically active like muscle. The only time you shouldn’t sleep is right after a meal because it requires time to digest.
Another simple way to maintain your BMR is to simply drink water, especially first thing in the morning. Not only is cold water refreshing, but it also assists in burning fat. Infusing water with fresh fruits and/or herbs keeps the flavor interesting and more enjoyable.
Cortisol, the infamous stress hormone, actually increases metabolism so moderate stress can be beneficial. But excessive or chronic stress harm your health and BMR. Too much cortisol will increase your hunger sensation and potentially suppress the satiety center. Together, this impedes your metabolism regardless of age. Meditation helps you to recenter your focus to control stress before it controls you.
Stop fad diets
The only diet people should be a part of is a healthy diet, which is a lifestyle, not a temporary solution. Fad diets are tempting short-term ways to lose weight that can damage your metabolism regardless if you successfully shed some pounds or not. A critical part of maintaining your metabolism is losing fat -not weight in general. The reliance on the scale to measure progress is a flawed part of fad diets because the number on the scale doesn’t differentiate the amount of fat from muscle.
Decrease caloric intake
The older you get, the more difficult it can be to balance out actual caloric need without excess consumption. Eating in bulk can lead to overeating, which increases fat storage. Older people tend to consume less because their energy needs are lower, however, the more active you are, the more calories you can eat while staying healthy.
Although this advice may seem contradictory to decreasing caloric intake, the key is to eat smaller, but more frequent meals. It’s recommended to eat every 3-4 hours to give your body just enough food to digest thoroughly.
Make every calorie count
Eating less calories doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a lot. It just means you should be wiser about what you choose to you nourish the body with. Negative metabolic changes are easily affected by poor dietary habits such as eating too little or too much. Over-consuming a nutrient doesn’t necessarily make it work better. The best thing to do is simply be conscious of what you’re eating by ensuring that only nutritiously dense foods are part of your meals.