We all know that a slowing metabolism as we travel through midlife is a natural part of the aging process. This means that it becomes more difficult to lose weight and keep the pounds off. Yep, we live that dream every day.
Of course, it’s not easy to stay motivated when dieting and exercise no longer produce results for you like they used to. Gaining weight seems to be a regular occurrence. So, how to boost your metabolism after 60? Why does it even matter anymore?
It matters a lot, my friend. Keeping the metabolism moving well and going strong provides benefits that can literally help us to live longer, more productive, and satisfying lives.
While there are no magic pills or quick fixes for making this happen, losing weight, and keeping fit in your 60s, these five tips can help keep you going strong and fight off those extra pounds, with a healthier you a positive side benefit! And, if you’ve not yet reached your 6th decade, take note of these tips because you will benefit from them as well!
Please note that I am not a health care professional and this is not professional advice. These tips have been sourced based on my own experience as a woman in my 60s as well as research from authoritative, trusted sites.
By the way, if you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle in Maintaining Weight & Health as You Age
Our bodies change as we get older, and our lifestyle does, too. Workouts might need to become less intense, and your diet may need to change. What worked for us in the past just doesn’t do the job anymore. It took me a while to recognize and accept that, because gosh, it was so much easier to lose a few pounds when I was younger!
How does our body change as women over 60? We lose muscle mass because our body stops making as much estrogen and human growth hormone.
Our metabolism slows down because of a change in body composition due to decreased muscle mass and increased body fat after menopause.
As you age, it also gets more difficult to maintain your ideal weight and lose weight simply because your basal metabolic rate decreases by 5% per decade . By the time you are 60, you have lost an estimated 40% of muscle mass, which means that your basal metabolic rate is lower.
It may seem like we’ve had our 3 strikes and we’re out, doesn’t it? But we don’t have to give up and let ourselves go, my friend.
Please don’t do that. Not only will you look and feel older, you could also be shaving years off of your life. Fitness and weight loss can still be in the picture for us.
So put your big girl workout pants on and give yourself the best type of self care there is: the kind that will help you live longer.
Make Sure You’re Healthy Enough to Change Your Diet & Exercise Routine
As you age, your body changes in many ways that can make weight loss more challenging. We discussed those in the paragraphs above. And, some conditions might need to be treated medically before starting a diet and exercise program.
The key is to talk to your doctor first and work with a medical professional to address any health issues and maybe even come up with an individualized program to lose weight.
With age comes more of a propensity toward heart disease and metabolic disease, issues such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, the dreaded belly fat, and higher than normal cholesterol levels.
Visiting with your health care professional will give you a gauge of where you are physically in these areas. You do have an annual check up, right?
Adjust Your Mindset
Sometimes I think I’m an old dog. Not literally, of course, but like an old dog may act. They’re set in their ways, comfortable with their dog life, and aren’t real keen on making any drastic changes to their nice, quiet, slow days filled with naps and snacks.
My days may not be filled with nap time and quiet, but I do like to snack and I’m not as quick to accept change as I was in my younger years. I have to be honest with myself. In those ways, yes, I am like an old dog. 🐶
But that’s not how things work if I…if you…if we really want to keep our metabolism strong, remain healthy, and give ourselves a chance to keep our weight under control.
While it might not be easy to make these changes, it’s important for us to do so. Our metabolism and health depend on our lifestyle choices. The truth is that keeping weight off as we age requires a great deal of dedication and perseverance.
5 Tips: How to Boost Your Metabolism After 60
The following five tips will help you boost your metabolism after 60, so that you can fight those extra pounds and stay fit for life!
1 | Focus more on losing fat than losing weight
Is weight loss possible after 60? Of course. But if you adjust your mindset and how you approach eating, you may find more success with maintaining and losing weight.
Keep this in mind, too: if you don’t eat enough calories, your body senses that it needs to conserve and lowers the rate that it burns calories. So don’t assume that “less is better” when it comes to consuming calories.
It is a matter of eating the right stuff, my friend.
Shift to whole foods. There are no magic pills or quick fixes. The key is to eat whole foods, rather than processed ones. For many of us that’s easier said than done.
I’ve been making the switch to more whole, clean food for over a year now, and although my food intake is healthy overall, I have some work to do.
I have a few favorite snacks that I cling to and just don’t want to give up, even though they are processed. One way to approach changing your food choices is to do this: Eat well for 6 days, and give yourself a break one day a week to indulge in a few of your favorite “bad” foods. The key is to just do that for one day a week, and don’t go crazy overboard.
Increase protein intake. Eating more protein will help you lose weight by curbing hunger and increasing metabolism. Incorporate protein throughout the day in small amounts of lean meat, yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese or other options. It’s important to eat protein at each meal because it keeps your metabolism revved up for hours on end.
One way I keep my protein intake higher is with protein shakes. They are so simple to make: whey protein, milk or water (I use almond milk), a handful of fruit (blueberries are a great choice), a tablespoon of honey, maybe some non-fat Greek yogurt, and you’ve got a protein-rich snack or meal.
Don’t skip breakfast. In a recent study, researchers from Tufts University found that when 40 overweight women skipped breakfast and ate lunch instead, they burned 300 fewer calories by the end of the day than they normally would have. One reason: Breakfast jump-starts your metabolism for the day.
Eat healthy snacks between meals. Choose whole fruits and veggies before processed foods, which can cause you to retain water weight due to added sugars and sodium. Eat small amounts of healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds to keep your metabolism going strong.
Consider eating a little differently: a large breakfast, moderate lunch, and light dinner. Or, eat more often and make your meals smaller. There is not one way to consume our food that will work for everyone. Do what is best for you.
Count your macros. What does that mean? Macros is short for macronutrients, the good stuff we should be consuming every day: protein, good carbs, and healthy fats. Finding the balance can help you maintain a healthy weight and lose weight, too. I learned that while I have no problem, ever, meeting or exceeding my daily fat intake (no surprise there!), I have had to modify my eating habits to increase the amount of protein, and sometimes carbs, to reach my daily healthy goal.
The good news, friends, is that we can have more control over our weight in our 60s.
2 | Exercise, including strength training
Exercise is so important to your health that there are actually doctors who prescribe it to their patients! Make sure that you include both aerobic exercise and strength training into your weekly schedule for best results.
Remember the mantra: keep moving! Now is not the time to stop working out. You might need to work out differently than you did in your 30s, but try to maintain a regular exercise routine and keep the physical activity a priority in your daily routine.
You don’t have to go to the gym, nor do you have to lift weights to increase body strength. So using these as an excuse is not allowed. 🙂
I know from experience that exercises that rely on body weight, such as push-ups, tricep dips, wall sits, squats, and lunges, can be just as effective as those that use weights or machines.
It may take some time to train your muscles, and your endurance, to be able to do a solid number of repetitions, but if you’re in overall good health, you can do it!
And don’t forget the cardio, the aerobic side of exercising, my friend. We need to elevate our heart to keep that muscle strong and working hard for us.
According to a research, five sessions of moderate cardio per week—each lasting between 20 and 45 minutes—increased daily metabolism by 109 calories in women. Even on days when they were not working out, the participants had an afterburn. So you can keep on burnin’ the calories on days that you don’t do aerobic exercise. How cool is that?
What is a brisk walk? It is at a pace where you can still talk and walk, but not sing a song. Walking at a brisk pace (about 3.5 miles per hour) for 30 minutes translates into about 1.5 to 2 miles.
If you’re up to it, consider HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. This is a type of exercise where you give an extra-hard push for about 30 seconds, then slow down to your normal pace. Sprinkles those intervals throughout an aerobic workout to burn off as much as 200 extra calories.
Another alternative is LISS, or Low Intensity Steady State aerobics. In this type of exercise, you keep the pace moderate but increase the length of exercise time. Learn more about LISS cardio here.
Alternate between aerobic and strength training through the week. Before you know it you’ll have a new healthy habit established and shaved a bit of extra fat off of your beautiful midlife body.
3 | Hydration is key
How can drinking water help you maintain or lose weight? Your body will burn more calories, because it is warming the water to body temperature, which increases your metabolism.
I started adding ice to my water about a year ago, for that exact reason.
If you are consuming 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water each day, that is another way to keep your metabolic rate going strong. And, that can help with weight control.
One study showed that drinking 17 ounces of water increases your metabolism by 10 to 30% for about an hour.
What are you waiting for? Go get that water!
4 | Sleep Well
A good night’s sleep can be easier said than done, especially as we get older. I’ve found myself laying awake during the night more now than ever before.
Many things can happen when we don’t get enough sleep:
- increased risk of heart disease
- increased risk of depression
- increased risk of diabetes
- lower metabolic rate (gasp!)
- increased likelihood of weight gain (oh, no!)
Napping during the day is not necessarily the answer, either, as it can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythms (our internal clock)
It can help to create a healthy bedtime routine, to get us going with good habits to prepare ourselves for solid rest through the night.
Studies have shown that ongoing stress impacts our weight, specifically around the middle. Stress hormones and peptides work overtime when we have difficult situations in our lives, like caring for a chronically ill loved one.
It is never more important to care for yourself than when you are caring for a loved one. I know from experience how hard that is, how draining, physically and emotionally.
If comfort food is a go-to for you, be aware that these situations can wreak havoc with your metabolism, and your health.
Whether you are going through difficult times or not, always find the time to engage in stress-reducing activities:
More Healthy Living Tips!
Whether you’re 60, 70, or 40, there are some things that can help keep your metabolism going strong. I hope these five tips will give you a jump-start to boosting your metabolic rate and keeping weight off in the future!
Have any of these strategies worked for you? Let us know what has helped boost your metabolism after age 60. Are you ready to take on this challenge?
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Resources referenced in the creation of this post: