It is simply a fact of life that, as we age, our bodies begin to wear down and the foods that we eat affect us in ways that it didn’t before. This is attributed to a slowing of our metabolism. Every person in every stage of life has a specific metabolic type: some are faster than others while some are slower than others. What is universally true is that, as we age, our metabolism begins to slow and the way our body processes and uses energy changes in profound ways. Understanding the different metabolic types is important when we want to live a healthy and long life.
When we age, our metabolism begins to slow down. This begins to happen in our 30s and continues to decrease the longer we live. Muscle mass begins to decrease and bone density decreases as well. In turn, our metabolism responds by slowing down even further to lessen the effects of these losses. Physical activity comes at a higher price – injuries take longer to heal and soreness in joints and muscles last longer than they did when we were in our teens and 20s. It becomes much more challenging to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. And, this is when weight gain becomes more of a risk.
A “fast metabolism” can also affect our aging processes. To understand why, we must first understand what metabolism actually is. Metabolism is the chemical processes that occur in all living things to maintain life. It is the conversion of food energy (calories) into the energy oud bodies need to function. Metabolism peaks in our early years, typically in our early to mid 20s, and begins to decline in our 30s. Beyond that, our metabolism gradually decreases more and more as we advance in age.
What Are Metabolic Types?
Metabolic types between men and women affect the body in different ways. This is where sex hormones come into play. These include estrogen and testosterone. While these hormones are present in both sexes, the amount of each varies wildly between the two. Men typically produce more testosterone than estrogen and women are the opposite. Testosterone in men helps to develop more muscle mass than women while estrogen in women regulates menstrual cycles and prepares the body for reproduction.
Men typically experience a “faster” metabolism than women do because increased muscle mass and bone density requires more energy to maintain. The less muscle you have, the less of a need for a faster metabolism.
Genes also play a significant role in different metabolic types between men and women.
The “Speed” of Metabolism
You have probably heard the terms “fast metabolism” and “slow metabolism.” The difference between the 2 is simply the rate at which each type burns calories. A fast metabolism tends to burn calories at a higher rate. Slower metabolisms burn calories at a lower rate. The rate at which your metabolism burns calories can affect how you age. A recent study by The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has found that a higher metabolic rate might predict early natural mortality. While this has been found to be true in tested animals, human association is limited in understanding. Nevertheless, this is something to be aware of and endocrinologists are working to understand these processes better.
To get a better understanding about your specific metabolic type, you should consult with an endocrinologist. They can help you understand your body’s needs with it comes to physical activity, nutrition, and rest. This in turn can help you live a healthy and longer life.