8 Ways to Increase Your Slowing Metabolism After 60
You’re not crazy – if you’re over 60, or even as young as 50, your metabolism is slowing down on you. It’s a natural part of the aging process – insert eye roll here – but seriously, it’s inevitable.
While we do want to briefly cover what’s happening to your metabolism, rest assured there are ways to increase it, and we’ll show you how.
Your Hormones Are to Blame
According to several fitness and weight loss experts we interviewed in Losing Weight After 60 Is Hard – Here Are 9 Ways to Drop the Pounds, that slowing metabolism has a lot to do with your changing hormones.
Your body stops making as much testosterone, estrogen, and human growth hormone (HGH), which means you start losing your muscle mass – and muscle is a key part of a good metabolism. Menopause and perimenopause can also wreak havoc on your metabolism-boosting hormones.
According to research performed at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, aging mice started to gain weight – without consuming more calories.
This can be a relief, especially if you’ve been gaining weight, yet you’ve been eating the way you’ve always eaten. It’s not all in your head!
Other Causes of Slowing Metabolism
Hormones are easily to blame, because they’re directly linked to the aging process. However, there are other causes of a slowing metabolism, and they can happen to anyone of any age.
Causes of a slowing metabolism include:
- Certain medications, such as diabetes drugs, steroids, and antidepressants
- Stress, which ultimately spikes your insulin levels
- Not enough exercise, which can lead to fat build-up
- Eating too much fat, which your body tries to conserve by slowing down your metabolism
- Health conditions like your thyroid losing function or your insulin becoming less functional
- Not eating enough calories, which causes your body to slow down because it thinks you’re starving
If any of these sound familiar, they could be yet another cause of your slowing metabolism, which ultimately leads to unexpected weight gain.
Tip #1: Get more Vitamin D
We mentioned earlier that testosterone levels decrease as you age – that’s for both men and women – and that can cause your metabolism to slow down.
However, a recent study in Hormone and Metabolic Research found that getting more Vitamin D can counteract that change.
Getting more sun is a great place to start, but certain foods can also boost your Vitamin D levels. Reach for egg yolks, salmon and other fatty fish, and vitamin-fortified breakfast cereals.
Tip #2: Do a workout
New research from UT Southwestern Medical Center shows that when mice do just one workout, the neurons that affect metabolism are active for up to two days. That workout was three 20-minute treadmill runs. A bonus? That single workout also caused a decrease in appetite that lasted for up to 6 hours.
A neuroscientist at UT Southwestern says that doing just one semi-intense workout can give you metabolism-boosting benefits that lasts for days. Better yet? These effects last even longer with continued training.
Tip #3: Pick up some free weights
Lifting weights has two positive effects on your body. First, weight training restores the muscle loss that comes with aging. Second, lifting weights increases the amount of calories you burn.
Using free weights in each hand, or bags of sugar or even cans of green beans, do arm raises and bicep curls to increase the muscle tone in your arms and back.
Holding those same weights by your side, you can do calf raises, squats, and lunges to build the muscles in your legs.
With those weights held to your chest, you can do crunches or modified sit ups to help strengthen your core muscles.
For a complete list of muscle building exercises using free weights, visit Dumbbell Exercises. You can also learn more about weight training in our extensive article Losing Weight After 60 Is Hard – Here Are 9 Ways to Drop the Pounds. As with any exercise regimen, be sure you understand how to perform each exercise before you do it, and have your physician’s permission.
According to PubMed, muscles burn up to three times more calories than fat – and that’s when you’re at rest, so just imaging how many calories you’ll burn when you’re active!
Tip #4: Drink more cold water
It’s a proven fact that you should consume one half your body weight in ounces of water daily.
Drinking water can help you lose weight, because it increases your metabolism, thus burning more calories, and if you drink water before a meal, it helps fill you up so you can resist that second helping of food.
An article in PubMed states that drinking 17 ounces of water increases your metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour. If you are drinking one half your body weight in ounces throughout the day, you can keep that metabolic increase going, which will help you shed pounds.
To take that even further, make sure the water you drink is cold. Your body will burn more calories, because it is warming the water to body temperature, which increases your metabolism. You get more bang for your buck with cold water!
Tip #5: Take time to stand up
When you aren’t standing, you’re either sitting or lying down. Both are sedentary and burn very few calories as your muscles aren’t engaged.
Standing up can burn upwards of 400 extra calories a day!
If you have to sit for extended periods, take time every 20-30 minutes to stand and move around. Better yet? Consider getting a standing desk. It will get your blood flowing and will help raise your metabolism.
Tip #6: Get a good night’s sleep
As stated in Healthline, inadequate sleep is a major contributor to obesity. Your body needs rest in order to function correctly. When you deprive it of that rest, it fights to keep going, thus raising your blood sugar levels and boosting your hunger hormone, which makes you feel hungry.
When you feel hungry, you will eat, increasing your caloric intake which will inevitably make you pack on the pounds. Then, because you are tired, you will be more sedentary, decreasing your ability to burn calories.
It's a vicious cycle that can only be stopped by getting some much needed sleep.
Tip #7: Drink your morning coffee
For you coffee lovers, this is music to your ears. Drinking coffee actually increases your metabolism.
Studies have shown that the metabolic increase from coffee is actually greater in lean people as opposed to those that are obese. A lean person’s metabolism can be increased by as much as 29% by drinking coffee.
If you aren’t lean, don’t despair – a heavier person’s metabolism will still increase from the coffee intake, but usually only about 10%. Hey, that’s still an increase!
Again, increasing your metabolism can help you burn calories, ultimately leading to weight loss.
Tip #8: Cook with coconut oil
Your body will burn healthy fats where it tends to store unhealthy fats for later use, which actually slows down your metabolism. Coconut oil is a healthy fat, and when your body burns the coconut oil, it raises your metabolism which promotes caloric burn.
Increase Your Metabolism!
As we get older, our bodies slow down. As our bodies slow down, so does our metabolism. This causes us to store fats and decrease our caloric burn, which makes us gain weight – even if we haven’t changed our eating or exercise habits at all.
Hopefully, these tips will spur you in the right direction, getting you moving and eating a little differently and ultimately raising your metabolism.
Growing old isn’t for sissies, but you can do it and make it look fabulous!
→ If you’re 65+ and are enrolled in Medicare, there are plans that offer free gym memberships as a part of your health insurance. It's never been easier to get motivated and stay in shape! Learn more
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