The reasons why you gain weight as you turn years

Get older can be frustrating according to the philosophy with which you take it, but one of the things that most bother people is that while you add years you also go accumulating kilos. Keep the weight It can be a challenge, even when you don't eat much or exercise. But don't be discouraged. Aging may be inevitable, but fatten It need not be.

In Spain, a 39.3% of the population is overweight and 21.6% obesity, which represents more than half of the inhabitants of the territory. It is a serious public health problem, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. But catching a few kilos over the years not only has to do with abandoning, there are also a number of issues that we don't control.

Loss of muscle mass

One of the reasons we gain weight as we age is because we gradually lose muscle mass, about 1% every year, points to 'The Washington Post' Donald D. Hensrud, associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (USA). This causes a decrease in our basal metabolic rate, that is, the process of burning calories that occurs while we are at rest. The lower the metabolic rate, the fewer calories we burn.

"Can be imperceptible year after year, but if you compare the average muscle mass of the population of 80 years with that of 20 years, it becomes more evident, "explains Hensrud." The greater the amount of muscle mass we have, the greater our resting metabolic rate "highlights.

We gradually lose about 1% of muscle mass every year. An imperceptible amount, but that affects our weight

In addition, spontaneous physical activity (walking, moving objects, etc.), separated from training, often decreases with age: "In general, 80 years old people will move less during the day compared to the twenties "." In addition, exercise, separated from daily activity, is likely to decrease, although that only greatly affects the smaller proportion of people who do it regularly, "he adds.

For its part the dietitian Jessica Murgueytio coincides with the doctor: "Many of my patients admit that they move less generally as they get older, and the first thing I recommend to lose weight is to add weight training, at least two or three days a week, to decrease sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss), along with an additional day or two of cardiovascular exercise. "

Likewise, he suggests to the American newspaper work with a personal trainer, especially in weight exercises, to learn how to lift them safely and effectively.

"In addition to this, I encourage my patients to comply a goal of 10,000 steps a day, so they are walking all day or doing housework, instead of coming home from the gym and sitting all day, "he says." This will also affect the metabolic rate, "he adds.

Hormonal changes

The decrease in testosterone in men and estrogen and progesterone in women can also affect weight. Of course, it is an affirmation false that menopausal women get more weight than men, says Hensrud. Actually both sexes gain weight, but the weight tends to redistribute in women more quickly than in men, often ending in the abdomen, one of the reasons for this misperception.

"Weight gain seems to affect men and women in a similar way," says the doctor, usually around half a kilo per year. "This doesn't seem like much, but at the population level it adds up a lot," he says.

Physiological influences

There may also be physiological influences. A recent study suggests that lipids in adipose tissue (where the body stores fat) decrease during the aging process, which means that the removal of fat from fat cells slows down, which contributes to weight gain.

Although it is believed that women gain more weight from menopause, the truth is that both sexes gain weight in the same way

The researchers studied fat cells in 54 men and women over a period of 13 years, and all of them showed decreases in their lipid renewal rate. The results indicate that the processes in adipose tissue "regulate changes in body weight during aging independently of other factors," he says. Peter Arner, teacher of Karolinska Institute in Sweden and one of the main authors of the study.

What to do to lose weight

Experts recommend that people keep exercising regularly, control calories, lift weights and move throughout the day, avoiding sitting. "All types of physical activity burn calories and are important," says Hensrud.

"Resistance training, like weight lifting, helps to lose abdominal fat. Exercise is the most efficient way to burn calories, "especially high intensity interval training, he says." It has also been shown to help you lose abdominal fat, "he adds.

Murgueytio warns that if the exercise and muscle mass decrease, It is important make up for it by reducing calories: "I encourage my patients to work on controlling what they eat and eating a higher volume of low-calorie foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, as they will fill us with fewer total calories and are important for aging, vitality and disease prevention. "

The good news is that weight gain seems to stabilize after 60, partly because people often eat less when they get older, says Hensrud.