Thursday, December 16, 2010

Prevent Age-Related Weight Gain

A lot of women complain of weight gain after menopause. This tends to happen even if they did not increase the amount of food or calories that they ate prior to menopause, and even if they don't feel that they eat a lot to begin with. One explanation for this phenomenon is that decreasing estrogen levels impact the distribution of fat storage on the body, however, it is also true that everyone's metabolism slows down just a little with each passing year. So, if nothing else changes, you require less and less calories to sustain your activity levels with every year that goes by. This means that even if you eat the same amount of food consistently, your body's declining energy requirements result in the storage of all of those 'excess' calories you're taking in - calories that weren't excess the year before! The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to help with this problem, and exercise is an excellent place to start.

It is common knowledge that exercise helps boost your metabolism at any age, especially muscle-building and strengthening resistance training like yoga, pilates, or using weights. In addition, numerous studies have also shown that keeping physically active through the years can help reduce the effects of age-related weight gain. For example, one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who were physically active in their younger years, and continued to stay active, put on less weight overall compared to their less active counterparts. Yes, exercise obviously burns calories, but it also helps keep your metabolism running smoothly and helps prevent it from slowing down, which is a big deal if you like the amount of food you're currently eating and you're able to maintain a healthy weight.

Another thing you can do is to be sure to eat regular meals and snacks, 5-6 times a day. Using money as an analogy, it's better to 'spend' your calorie budget in smaller amounts, spread evenly throughout the day rather than 'splurging' only 2-3 times a day. Small, frequent meals keep your metabolism actively working throughout the day and also help ensure you don't get too hungry and over-eat.

So that's it folks, you've heard it before, but I'll say it again - if you don't use it, you lose it, and this certainly applies to your metabolism.