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Middle Age Spread is Not Inevitable

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“Middle age spread” is the last thing any woman wants. Gaining excess weight is not something you are destined to do starting at about age 40. Actually, you can start depositing excess body fat and weight starting in your mid-twenties if you become a couch potato.

Keeping your metabolism “humming along” is a challenge as you grow older. Some things that may affect the speed of your metabolism are:

1) Your age. Your metabolism may slow down about 5 percent per decade after age 40 if you are sedentary.

2) Gender. Men generally burn more calories at rest than women.

3) Your proportion of muscle mass to fat mass. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be. Your body has to work harder to maintain muscle mass.

4) Heredity also plays a part in your body's rate of metabolism.

5) Thyroid problems may also cause your metabolism to slow down.

Here is a scary thought. Obesity in the middle age years can lead to chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cancer.

So, what’s a woman to do? Stay ahead of the potential weight problem. Take steps to start good habits even if means completely changing your lifestyle. That’s easier said than done but you are worth it!

Keep in mind that you are not getting the “natural daily activity” you got when raising your kids. There are no more practices, school activities, carpooling and “kid-chasing.” Those were calories you burned each day without even trying. And, if you were a regular exerciser, that was an added bonus.

So, now you are 40 and looking in the mirror. What’s your strategy to stay healthy and fit for your grandkids? You don’t have a weight control strategy? Well, today is the best time to start!

Here are some tips for you:

1) When was the last time you had a fitness and nutrition assessment performed by a fitness professional? Its worth your time and it will get you started in the right direction. If you have been sedentary or ill, you will need to schedule a physical exam with your doctor before beginning a fitness program.

2) Get a healthy meal plan based on your basal metabolic rate and daily activity level.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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