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Fight Middle-Age Weight Gain With Exercise, Good Nutrition

While it’s pretty common to gain weight as you go through your 30s, 40s and 50s, it can be avoided.weight, training, belly fat, weightsbench

It’s also important. Carrying extra weight can harm your health, according to national health authorities.

We can blame a few biological changes for middle-age weight gain. One of the biggest challenges is adjusting to a slower metabolism. Without added exercise and careful eating, it’s easy to put on more pounds.

“At some point, everyone loses muscle mass as they get older and gains abdominal fat,” said Dr. Matt Mattson, an expert on aging and exercise for National Institutes of Health. “Overeating and leading a sedentary lifestyle can speed up age-related changes in metabolism.”

Another age-related change has to do with the chemical leptin, which signals the brain that you’re full and have eaten enough. As we get older, leptin signals are not as effective. If you’re obese, leptin is even less helpful.

“There’s a reward part of everything you eat,” said Dr. Josephine M. Egan, an NIH expert on diabetes and aging. “You get the taste of the food. You feel good. Normal-weight people will satisfy cravings by having a small amount of what they crave.” 

To achieve the same sensation from eating, some people may need to eat more of what they crave.

Both aging and obesity can also affect the way your body processes glucose—the sugar your body makes from food and uses for energy. These changes can lead to diabetes, which raises your risk for heart disease, blindness, amputations, and other conditions, according to the NIH.

“Obesity increases the risk, and reduces the age of onset, for many diseases of aging,” Mattson said. “Over the long-term, even our brains are affected. Emerging evidence suggests that long-standing diabetes and obesity can lead to changes in brain cells that make them vulnerable to aging.”

Fortunately, exercise and healthy eating can help people avoid middle-age weight gain and the health problems that come with it.

“It doesn’t matter what your age is; physical activity is good for you,” Egan said. 

Source: NIH News in Health

+ Learn about the Nutritional Analysis program offered at Bon Secours In Motion. Our Registered Dietitians can teach you how to meet your nutritional needs and reach your weight loss goals.