We’ve known all along that getting older means heading down a path of graying hair, a couple of wrinkles here and there, and a change in the shape of the youthful body we once had. The once perky parts slope downwards. There are stretch marks and cesarean scars, droopy tummies and thighs that move at their own pace.
Despite the efforts of the $249 billion dollar a year anti-aging industry to convince us otherwise, aging is inevitable. This industry does not prevent aging. It just plays to your vanity.
What is aging?
Aging is that which happens to your body over time. It is the progressive decline in the efficiency of your body’s physiological functions over time.
Aging is inevitable. Changes occur, over time, in all of the cells of your body. These changes affect the functioning of all of the organs and systems of your body. The following systems of your body will change and/or slow down as you age
- cardiovascular system
- respiratory system
- brain and nervous system
- immune system
- excretory system
- endocrine system
- reproductive system
- digestive system
- metabolic system
Please note that the anti-aging industry does not offer a single product or service that reverses or slows down the changes in these body systems that occur over time. In effect, their products and services just “paint over the rust”.
There is no way to prevent aging. Mankind has been searching for “the fountain of youth” for aeons.
However, there is a way to slow down aging.
What slows down aging?
There is one system in your body that affects most of the other systems. It is your metabolic system….your metabolism. Metabolism is the process the body uses to convert food into energy.
Most of us think of metabolism as the rate at which we burn calories. That’s only part of the story. Metabolism is not just about burning up the calories from the food we eat, but it is also about how the various nutrients from that food help us to maintain a body that functions efficiently.
Your body acts like an engine that is constantly in operation. Food is its fuel. It burns the fuel to keep going. But your body’s engine actually consists of millions of living cells, which are themselves tiny engines. Each cell in your body requires energy to stay alive. Food provides the energy.
Your metabolism consists of three components
- Basal metabolism – You burn most of your daily calories with little to no conscious effort. Whether you’re talking on the phone, working at a keyboard, or just watching television, your body is burning calories just to keep your heart pumping, your lungs breathing, and your organs functioning. The process that provides the calories used to maintain these basic bodily functions is known as basal metabolism.
Basal metabolism is measured by something called BMR – basal metabolic rate.
Your basal metabolism consumes between 60 percent and 75 percent of the total calories you use daily, and there’s no physical activity required for this
- Physical activity – physical activity uses between 15-30 percent of the calories you consume on a daily basis
- Thermic effect of food – about 10 percent of calories you consume are spent processing the food you eat
Your metabolism feeds the other systems of your body with the energy, oxygen and nutrients they need to function effectively.
What happens to your metabolism as you get older?
Your metabolism slows by 5 percent each decade. Compared to age 25, you’ll burn about 100 fewer calories a day at 35 and 200 fewer at 45. As an aside, if you do nothing about adjusting your intake of food and your activity (exercise) level you could gain eight to 12 pounds a year.
Your metabolism slows as you age thanks to a loss of muscle mass — you lose as much as 50% of your muscle mass between the ages of 20 and 90, and the rate of loss is especially pronounced from ages 50–70.
Why is your muscle mass so important to your metabolism? The less muscle you have, the fewer calories you burn.
For women, menopause slows metabolism even more.
Increases or decreases in metabolism lead to increases or decreases in the flow of blood through your body. Your blood carries energy, oxygen and nutrients to all of the cells and organs of your body. As your metabolism decreases, so does the supply of blood throughout your body. This diminishes the efficiency of all of the systems of your body.
How to slow down your aging
The rate at which you age will be determined largely by
- what you do to relieve the effects that menopause has on your body
- the rate at which your metabolism slows down
You need only to look at yourself in a mirror to see the effect that menopause has had on your aging. As menopause is a condition characterized by changing levels of hormones in your body and hormonal imbalance, if you re-balance your hormones you will relieve symptoms that have been taking their toll on your body.
Step 2 is to increase your metabolism. When you increase your metabolism, you will increase the supply of oxygen, energy and nutrients to all the cells and organs of your body. This will allow all of the systems of your body to function more efficiently.
There are 3 factors involved in increasing your metabolism. I will discuss them in detail … and what you need to do about each of them … in my next post.