You live a relatively healthy lifestyle, stay active, and eat nutritious foods. So why is it that your weight keeps creeping up year after year and what can you do to stop it?
Let’s say that right now, you eat about 1600 calories per day, do yoga once a week and go on at least two 3 mile walks. Sounds like a relatively healthy lifestyle, right? But, as you continue to age, you notice that your weight continues to creep up with every passing year. You’re doing the same things you’ve always done, so why does this happen?
From the time you are born until around age 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. But at some point in your 30s, you naturally begin to lose muscle mass. People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3-5% of muscle mass every 10 years after age 30. And even if you are active, you will still experience some muscle loss.
Muscle is active tissue. It costs your body energy in the form of calories to maintain that muscle, so as you lose muscle, your metabolism (or the number of calories you are burning in a day) is also decreasing. If you are taking in the same amount of calories and not changing your exercise routine, you will be gaining fat. However, you CAN combat this muscle loss by adding in a strength training routine. For example, if I added one lb of muscle to my left arm, I would automatically be burning MORE calories in a day just by having that extra muscle. Take it away and my metabolism goes down again. This is why strength training is so important as we age.