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First, what is metabolism?
Metabolism is the rate at which our bodies expends or uses energy, or as individuals typically say, the rate it burns calories.
You also hear many people claim “once you hit this age your metabolism slows down” or “once you have kids, your metabolism slows down”
Most commonly you hear 40 years old is associated with this or after your 20s, but a recent large study confirms that yes, your metabolism changes with age but it is far from claims we hear most.
We know from research, our metabolism peaks in infancy, now this is a ratio, height and weight affect the total, so essentially to sustain maintenance as an infant, the baby needs more calories per pound.
After infancy the metabolism then slows down by about 3% each year until we reach our 20s. Then luckily for us it actually levels off and remains stable for decades! Our metabolic rate does not actually start to slow down on its own age until after the age of 60. Still even then it is shown to be less than a 1% decrease a year.
Our life span entails a long list of inevitable physiological changes as we age from infancy onward, We grow, go through puberty, menopause, and other phases of life.
Co-author of the study addressed Herman Pontzer, PhD and author of Burn, which examines human metabolism states “What’s weird is that the timing of our metabolic life stages doesn’t seem to match those typical milestones.”
Pontzer collected over 40 years of data and a team of 80 scientists analyzed the average calories burned by more than 6,600 people from 29 countries. Study subjects ranged in age from one week to 95 years; 64 percent were female, 36 percent male.
“All of this points to the conclusion that tissue metabolism — the work that the cells are doing — is changing over the course of the lifespan in ways we haven’t fully appreciated before,” Pontzer says. “You really need a big data set like this to get at those questions.”
This data helps to tell us on average the metabolic rate does not change but as previously mentioned there are many stages of life that can impact our metabolism. If you feel that your health (or your waistline) took a hit before the predicted age of 60, it’s possible that you’re one of these outliers.
Factors such as behavioral, medical, and socioeconomic circumstances could be playing a role. In general after our 20s we become more sedentary. We sit at desks, play less sports, get more stressed, go to more social outings, all of a sudden a new food group called alcohol is added to happy hour or those casual oversized glasses of wine with dinner, sleep less…. All of these factors cause us to burn less calories, eat more calories and alter our metabolism. So it may be right to say, practicing healthy habits of daily movement, balanced eating, stress management and getting quality sleep could stop all those “metabolic changes” we like to blame age for!
If you feel you need help incorporating healthy habits or starting to get active again and you need an extra little push check out our Burner or Burner Max which can help elevate your for your morning walk or workout and help you maximize your metabolism to where it should be!