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What Age Does Metabolism Slow Down?


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Peradventure you feel like you’re adding more weight as you get older, or have little or no energy, you may begin to wonder if your metabolism has started slowing down.

The metabolic rate by age for both males and females differs from person to person as it could be affected by several factors which would be discussed in subsequent paragraphs in this article. However, you must understand that your average metabolism rate by age and your food metabolism differs. While the former is the speed at which your body burns energy for its daily function, the latter is simply how your body is able to absorb and digest nutrients from foods you consume.

But then, when or at what age does your metabolism actually slows down?

Typically, as you grow older, the composition of your body changes and you begin to lose muscle mass, which definitely makes up part of your fat-free mass. Thus, the older you get, the higher your tendency of losing muscles. This means that you’ll burn less energy daily.

Most people don’t experience a decline in their metabolism rate until they are 50 or 60. This is to a large extent, the normal body metabolic age for everyone.


However, it could happen or start earlier than that. Don’t forget it is could be determined by several factors but here is a breakdown of the process for some people-

Age 30– At this age, there are those that start experiencing difficulty in losing weight. This is because most people move less as they get older. Thus, if you are not the type who’s physically active,  each decade, you may lose up to 5-6% of muscle mass.

Age 40– At this age, your body could lose muscle mass naturally. This process is called sarcopenia. Even if you’re active, you will lose a few muscles. Then, fat will begin to form inside the muscle and weight gain occurs. This would also slow down your metabolism. Although, it largely depends on the amount of muscle mass you’ve lost.

When does metabolism slow down in males and females?

Normally, body metabolic age for both males and females is calculated by comparing your basal metabolic rate, (BMR) to the average BMR of your chronological age group. If it happens that your metabolic age is higher than your age, it shows that you have to improve your metabolic rate. 

For those who don’t know what BMR is, it is actually the number of calories your body requires to accomplish its basic functions, especially those that are life-sustaining. You can also define it as the amount of energy that is expended at rest after the digestive system has been inactive for some hours. Thus, it is the metabolism rate of a person when waking up in the morning, after “fasting” during sleep.

BMR is slightly slower in women than men and also older than younger adults. It majorly depends on how much fat and lean tissue a person has. It significantly determines one’s metabolic rate.

Metabolism could slow down for men at age 25 and even start declining by 2-5% yearly. Between ages 25-65, you can also lose at least, 5 pounds of muscle every 10 years. This can be prevented with consistent exercise because it’ll help you preserve and gain lean muscle mass. Thus, it is not a cause for alarm.

As for women, the slow down in metabolism could affect them more. This is especially due to several factors like pregnancy and menopause. Most women could experience a slow down in metabolism by age 40 while others could start way earlier. 

Why metabolism slows down with age

As aforementioned, body metabolism slows down because people lose muscles as they grow older. An average adult loses up to 3-8% of muscle every decade after hitting 30 years.

According to recent research, as soon as you clock 80, you’ll be having 30%  less muscle than when you were 20 years of age.

How much does your metabolism slow down with age?

Normally, the speed of your metabolism is usually affected by your muscle mass, levels of your activity, and some other factors. Due to this, metabolic speed varies from one individual to another. 

For example, research was conducted on three groups of people. Those that are aged 20-34, 60-74, and those that were above 90.

lifestyleCompared to the youngest group, people within the age bracket of 60-74 burned up to 122 fewer calories while those over 90 burned around 433 fewer calories.

When it came to accounting for gender differences, fat, and muscles, it was found that people aged 60-74 burned just 24 fewer calories while those from 90 and above burned 53 fewer calories.

What this proves is that as you age, it is beyond necessary to maintain muscle.

What causes the differences in people’s metabolism rate?

Muscle mass: More calories are usually needed to not only build but also maintain muscle than fat. People with more muscle mass tend to have faster metabolisms. Therefore, they burn more calories.

Genes: This is another determinant. The genes from your parents could also affect your muscle size and your ability to build muscle mass.

Smoking: Nicotine significantly speeds up metabolism so you are able to burn more calories. This is why when people quit smoking they tend to add weight. However, this shouldn’t be a means to speed up metabolism as smoking is quite deadly.

Physical activity: Walking, running, cycling, jogging, and other forms of exercise could play a huge role in causing you to burn more calories. So, as you grow older, you are advised to consistently engage in physical activities.

Lifestyle changes that are great for your metabolism rate

Aerobic exercise: This has been mentioned severally in this article. For the best results, doctors recommend 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.

Strength training: Weight lifting is another great way to improve your metabolism rate and burn more calories while you are resting.

Drinking enough water: This can’t be overemphasized. For good metabolism, you have to get enough liquid into your system

Balanced diet: Out with junk foods and in with healthy meals. This should be your motto if you are looking to improve your metabolism rate.

Final Thoughts 

Being overweight has never been a thing of joy. While this can be hinged on several factors, it can also be blamed on slow body metabolism. So, endeavor to exercise more and eat healthy and balanced meals consistently for a speedy metabolism rate.

Listen to your body’s voice today

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