Weight gain with age – are they truly linked? How many people can say that their bodies are similar in shape and size to their high school or college-age bodies? Is it reasonable to use our weight at age 20 for a goal weight at age 55? Is it telling that calculations for determining a person’s caloric needs factor in age and decrease the older we get?
Why is it that we may need less food over time? Does our appetite change, our metabolism, our muscle mass, our activity level or should we blame stress and hormones? Are we all destined to periodically step on the scale and think, “I’ve never seen THAT number before!”?
Well, I’ve heard that the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds of weight each year; I’ve also read 2 pounds every 4 years. Either way, it’s not decreasing. Much of this increase in weight is attributed to a loss of muscle mass, thus reducing the amount of calories the body burns. Also, where we carry weight may change over time, especially for women who are likely to gain more abdominal fat with the onset of menopause.
The good news: Preserving muscle mass and warding off this metabolic decline is possible. While not all muscle loss can be halted via exercise, much of it can. Resistance training, an often overlooked activity, is key in preventing muscle loss. Even seniors are able to reverse some of this loss by implementing resistance training routines.
Do you make it a priority to include resistance training in your routine? What are your favorite types of strength-building activities?