The older you get, the more problems your body seems to pick up. This is the unfortunate truth that we all have to contend with. One of these problems is a drop in the speed of our metabolism. This does not only make the process of weight loss harder than it already is, but it also makes gaining weight that much easier. For people at or above the age of 40, the question of how to boost metabolism after 40 and remain healthy and fit can be quite a constant struggle.
If you are above the age of 40 and are looking for ways to boost your metabolism, then you are in the right place.
In today’s post, we are going to not only tell you why losing weight after 40 is such a struggle to many, but we are also going to outline simple ways to boost metabolism from the comfort of your home and kitchen.
Why Do Older People Find It Harder To Lose Weight?
Getting older comes with its own sets of issues and also increases your risk of certain illnesses. According to Health.com and WebMD, some of these surprising issues and health concerns associated with aging include perimenopausal symptoms in women, kidney stones, urinary tract, and prostate infections, food allergies and other nutrition problems, arthritis, hypertension, a higher risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as a higher susceptibility to different types of cancer, and much more.
As if this was not bad enough, people above the age of 40 tend to gain weight faster and find it harder to lose weight. One review published in 2013 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality stated that we tend to gain about 1 to 2 pounds a year as we age (18).
So why is this? Why do older adults find it harder to lose weight? Here are some reasons why.
Age-Related Muscle Loss
Scientifically, this condition is known as sarcopenia, and it is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function (4). A 2004 review by the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care stated that once we hit the age of 30, our bodies naturally begin to lose lean muscle at the rate of 3 to 8 percent per decade (13). This happens even to those who remain active in their older years (11). Remember that muscles burn more calories than fat, and the less muscle you have, the fewer calories you burn per day; each calorie that is not used up by the body, ends up being stored as fat.
While hormonal shifts are normal throughout your lifetime, when you hit the age of 40, these changes become more pronounced and end up affecting our day-to-day lives, including how the body deals with extra weight.
In women, this change is caused by perimenopause, which often occurs in their 40s or 50s. Menopause causes a major drop in estrogen that leads to weight gain and extra fat storage, especially in the midsection.
In men, the change is caused by dropping testosterone levels which are said to drop by a rate of about 1 to 2 percent per year after 40. Lesser testosterone equals less muscle strength and mass, as well as more fat stored in the body.
Major Lifestyle Changes Equals More Stress And A Sedentary Life
The sad fact is that sometimes, even the most active older person is not half as active as they were in their younger years. This is something that could be caused by several factors, including getting kids, a thriving career, health problems, and more. All these factors, even the positive ones, can cause stress that leads to the build-up of cortisol in your body causing weight gain.
This goes back to the point about age-related muscle loss. While researchers are still unsure about the cause of decreasing muscle mass and increasing fat mass that comes with age, the fact remains that this is a prominent issue that causes a decrease in your metabolic rate (2).
However, just because your body keeps losing muscle and replacing it with fat doesn’t mean that there is no hope for you. Finding out ways to increase metabolism is something that you can do to counter this process and not only lose weight but possibly also build some muscle.
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How To Boost Metabolism After 40: Natural Metabolism Booster Foods And Activities
Contrary to what you may think, the problem of how to increase metabolism is not as complicated as you might think. With simple changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can influence how fast your body burns calories, which in turn helps you with weight loss.
Here are some options to incorporate into your life and diet:
Perform Resistance Training And Build More Muscle
Just because your body will continue to lose muscle every decade doesn’t mean that you should just give up and let nature take its course. If you are wondering how to boost metabolism after 40, then strength training exercises should be among your go-to type of workouts.
Remember that not only will such a workout regimen slow down age-related muscle loss, but will help boost your metabolism as well; making your body burn calories and fat that enables weight loss and weight maintenance. Some simple and safe workouts for anyone above the age of 40 include jumping rope (you can use weighted ropes), squats, deadlifts, dumbbell chest, shoulder press, lunges, weighted planks, etc.
Do Strength Training To Boost Rmr
As we have seen above, weight training works great to boost metabolism by building or maintaining muscle, but muscle often takes a while to grow. This, however, does not mean that all your workouts will be in vain. Several studies have shown that strength training can boost your resting metabolic rate, which means that you continue to burn calories even while at rest.
A study in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal showed that weight training can help increase their RMR by 7% on average (7). This, however, is not the only study to demonstrate that weight training is one of the good ways to increase metabolism. Over the years, studies have shown that this practice can help your body burn more calories for anywhere between two to 38 hours after a workout session (10, 5, 6).
Add Probiotics To Your Diet
While probiotics are commonly intended to improve your gut health, some studies have shown that certain strains of friendly bacteria may help with weight loss.
So how about its effect on the metabolic rate? Do probiotics have a direct link to it? Turns out, they might. A 2008 study by the Imperial College London and the Nestlé Research Center showed that probiotics may have a tangible effect on metabolism. The researchers found that when mice consumed the two probiotic strains, Lactobacillus paracasei and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, the way they metabolized bile acids changed, which could have implications on the absorption of dietary fat (16).
Much more research needs to be done to determine how probiotics affect human metabolism and which strains have what effects. What we do know is that they are important for our digestive health and probably in other ways as well. So include some fermented foods like yogurt or kimchi and plenty of prebiotic fiber in your diet.
Adding fiber to your diet is something that you should always endeavor to do whether you are looking for ways on how to increase metabolism after 40 or not. Dietary fiber has multiple benefits, such as maintaining and normalizing bowel movements, lowering cholesterol levels, controlling blood sugar levels, promoting satiety, and much more.
When it comes to boosting your metabolic rate and losing weight after 40, fiber also has a great role to play in this matter. The simplest way to explain how it works is that dietary fiber cannot be digested by your body and the more your body tries to break it down, digest, and absorb, then the more energy it uses.
In a study published in 2017 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants were divided into groups, each consuming different amounts of fiber as either whole grains or refined grains for six weeks. At the end of the study, researchers found out that participants who consumed around 40 grams of fiber had increased their metabolism by 92 calories a day (19).
Healthy foods high in fiber include legumes and lentils, broccoli, pears, berries, bananas, oranges, green peas, baked potatoes, sweet corn, carrots, cauliflowers, and more.
Drinking more water is beneficial to your body because it helps with important processes, such as carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells, maintaining electrolyte balance, aiding digestion, regulating your bodys’ temperature, preventing constipation, and flushing waste from your bladder, as well as normalizing blood pressure and stabilizing the heartbeat.
But this is not all. When it comes to ways to increase metabolism after 40, science has shown that water plays a very important part in this process.
- One study published in 2014 in the Acta Physiologica journal found that drinking just 500ml of water increased energy expenditure by 2 to 3% for as much as 90 minutes (3).
- In 2003, a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism demonstrated that drinking 500ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30% for up to 40 minutes after consumption (21).
Drink More Tea
If you have no issues with caffeine, then having more tea will help you on your “how to boost metabolism” plan. Several studies have continuously shown that caffeinated teas can temporarily increase your metabolic rate (9, 15). If you want this natural metabolism booster, try sipping on either green, white, and/or oolong tea throughout the day.
Eat More Spicy Foods
In a review published in 2010 in the International Journal of Endocrinology, researchers described a negative relationship between sleep deprivation and metabolism (17). To fix this and improve your chances of losing weight and increasing your metabolic rate, try your best to get at least 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
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Drink More Coffee
Like green and other types of teas, coffee too has been found to help increase metabolism and fat burning in the body. Adding this drink to your diet might help enhance your metabolic rate by 3 to 11% a day (14).
Eat More Times In A Day
If you can break down your meals into smaller portions and eat them throughout the day, then this would be a great way to keep your metabolic rate up all day. According to WebMD, when you eat large meals with many hours in between, your metabolism slows down between meals. However, breaking down these portions into smaller ones and eating them every 3 to 4 hours ensures that you burn more calories all day long through the digestive process.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to “how to boost metabolism after 40” the trick lies in making small and subtle but eventually very effective changes to your diet and lifestyle. If you keep finding the process of losing weight after 40 a tedious and almost impossible thing, try the above-mentioned solutions and see if they help, but also make sure to speak to your doctor to see if there might be other underlying issues.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Acute effects of mustard, horseradish, black pepper and ginger on energy expenditure, appetite, ad libitum energy intake and energy balance in human subjects (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Body composition changes with aging: The cause or the result of alterations in metabolic rate and macronutrient oxidation? (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Cardiovascular and metabolic responses to tap water ingestion in young humans: does the water temperature matter? (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Clinical definition of sarcopenia (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise energy expenditure and resting metabolic rate (1993, journals.physiology.org)
- Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management (2002, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of strength training on resting metabolic rate and physical activity: age and gender comparisons (2001, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of ‘water induced thermogenesis’ on body weight, body mass index and body composition of overweight subjects (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of encapsulated green tea and Guarana extracts containing a mixture of epigallocatechin-3-gallate and caffeine on 24 h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in men (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- EPOC Comparison Between Isocaloric Bouts of Steady-State Aerobic, Intermittent Aerobic, and Resistance Training (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You’re Older? (2017, nytimes.com)
- Metabolic effects of spices, teas, and caffeine (2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Muscle tissue changes with aging (2004, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers (1989, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Probiotics Affect Metabolism, Says New Study (2008, sciencedaily.com)
- Sleep and Metabolism: An Overview (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Strategies to Prevent Weight Gain Among Adults (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Substituting whole grains for refined grains in a 6-wk randomized trial favorably affects energy-balance metrics in healthy men and postmenopausal women (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Water drinking induces thermogenesis through osmosensitive mechanisms (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Water-induced thermogenesis (2003, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)