Metabolism is the energy process that occurs within cells and is essential for life. It refers to the rate at which energy is produced, used, and stored in the body. As people age, their metabolic rate slows down due to changes in cellular energy expenditure and decreased energy intake. Although this may seem like a natural part of aging, it has been revealed that it can extend longevity by restricting total daily energy intake. This can reduce inflammation and lower the risk of aging-associated chronic diseases, suggesting a causal role between metabolism and life expectancy. 


Metabolic changes are a normal part of aging and can cause memory decline, muscle mass loss, and hormonal imbalances. A higher metabolism is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. To keep your metabolism healthy as you age, it’s essential to follow seven simple steps:  

  • Exercise regularly 
  • Consume adequate protein 
  • Eat less processed foods 
  • Increase intake of healthy fats 
  • Increase intake of fiber-rich foods 
  • Reduce sugar intake 
  • Get enough sleep each night 

As we age, metabolic processes slow down, decreasing basal metabolism, or how many calories our bodies burn at rest. To counter this, focusing on quality rest, physical activity, and good nutrition is essential to boost one’s metabolism. Maintaining muscle mass is especially important as we age since muscles are responsible for burning calories and boosting metabolism. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate and the more calories you burn, even at rest. Dieting alone won’t cut it. However, eating fewer calories can lead to weight loss. It can also reduce overall muscle mass, lowering your metabolic rate if not offset by increased physical activity or exercise. 


As we age, our bodies inevitably burn fewer calories and don’t function as well metabolically. We understand that our metabolism peaks in our late twenties and declines by around three percent each following decade. This means that even if you maintain your current healthy diet, you will still burn fewer calories than when you were younger.  


Babies burn 50 percent of their calories through physical activity alone, while adults only need to burn about 30 to 40 percent of their total calorie intake. This means that when it comes to aging and metabolism, the same amount of food may have a more significant impact on an older person than on a younger one; not only do they have reduced metabolic function, but they also have less overall energy expenditure due to physical activity levels.  


It is true that aging affects metabolism, but do not worry. Several scientifically proven healthy lifestyle strategies help offset these effects as you age. Most importantly, incorporating healthy lifestyle behaviors into your daily life, such as eating right, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep, can make a big difference. The results can be powerful! 


Get more information about metabolism and how it changes as you age 


Following these guidelines and consulting with a professional when needed will give readers all the information they need to get their metabolisms back up and running optimally! Learn more about metabolism by getting a copy of Metabolism & Medicine by Dr. Brian Fertig. 


Dr. Brian Fertig is one of the nation’s leading endocrinologists with 35 years of practice in diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolism. As the founder and president of Diabetes and Osteoporosis Center in Piscataway, New Jersey, Dr. Fertig’s passion for patient care and research led him to write a two-volume comprehensive book on metabolism and the human body, “Metabolism and Medicine.” Dr. Fertig’s poignant, informative monograph on metabolism is the definitive resource on metabolism and biophysical processes at all scales of the physiological journey. 


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