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Age and Weight Gain

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Age and weight gain have a surprisingly close relationship.  If you’ve ever thought to yourself “it’s getting harder for me to shed the pounds,” you may very well be right.  There are a number of reasons that this can be the case.

Weight loss research shows that American women gain an average of 16 pounds of body weight from age 25 to age 54. Only at about age 55 does their weight decline. Men gain an average of 10 pounds of body weight from age 25 to age 45. They too begin to lose weight at about age 55.

That said, just because age and weight gain are connected, it doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to struggle with the pounds as you get older.  Simply being aware of this issue can help you to equip yourself to control your body weight more effectively.

Ageing and Weight Loss

For most women, increases and shifts in weight begin during perimenopause — the years leading up to menopause. But these shifting levels of estrogen aren't the sole source of your weight gain. Aging also plays a part in your changing body composition.

Other possible causes of weight gain during middle age include:

  • Reduced physical activity. Menopausal women tend to exercise less than other women, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Increased food intake. Eating more means you'll take in more calories, which are converted to fat if you don't burn them for energy.
  • Slowing metabolism. The number of calories you need for energy decreases as your metabolism slows and the amount of muscle you have decreases. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, the less muscle you have, the fewer calories you burn.
  • Genetics. Genetic factors may play a role in your weight gain. You might be predisposed to gain weight around your stomach as you age. That means you may have to work harder to maintain your figure.

On average, women gain about a pound a year during the years leading up to menopause. This can feel very frustrating as many women feel they aren’t eating as much as they used to but are still watching their middles round out.

The Health Challenges of Gaining Weight

Weight gain can have serious implications for your health. Excess weight can increase your risk of:

These factors can put you at risk of heart disease. As age already raises the risk of heart disease, the last thing any of us need is additional risk factors on top of what we cannot control.

What to Do About Your Weight as You Age

If you've already noticed the extra pounds, take steps to eat a varied diet and increase your daily exercise. In fact, try tracking your food intake to see how many calories you’re actually consuming.  You might find that if you learn more about what’s in your food, not just how much you eat of it, the solution will be simpler to see.

If you've yet to reach the weight-gain stage of middle age, you can prepare by taking the same steps to ensure that you won't gain weight in the future. Building the right habits early on will not only be advantageous to you right away but also in the years to come.

On the fitness side of things, cardio exercise is especially helpful in boosting your metabolism.  This helps to keep your natural fat burning rate high. By incorporating strength training exercises, you'll increase your lean muscle mass, increase metabolism even further, strengthen your bones and reduce your risk of falls. These are all important benefits you can enjoy today and tomorrow.


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