Does Metabolism Slow With Age

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

Kaitlin Floyd

Kaitlin Floyd
Kaitlin Floyd

Updated on 12/7/2022

You had probably heard that as you get older, you shouldn't continue to eat the same kinds of things that you did when you were younger because doing so can be detrimental to your health. Does metabolism slow with age? If this is something that you believe to be true, you should refrain from eating the same things that you did when you were younger.

That is because as you get older, your metabolism often slows down, making it more straightforward to put on a few more pounds and more difficult for you to get rid of them later in life. The explanation is that your metabolism typically slows down as you get older.

The natural slowing down of your metabolic processes that comes with getting older is one of the reasons why this is the case. A decrease in physical activity can also lead to a loss of muscle mass, yet another factor.

As the body ages, its metabolism naturally slows down, and part of what you can do to combat this is to eat a healthy diet in order to keep your metabolism from slowing down, which is one of the things you can do. This change in your metabolism is a natural part of the aging process. The slowing down of metabolic rate that comes with getting older is an inevitable effect of the process.

In this article, the reasons why your metabolism slows down as you get older are investigated, as well as the things you can do to avoid this natural phenomenon from happening.

What Is Your Metabolism?

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

Your metabolism is the aggregate of all of the chemical processes that take place in your body to assist in keeping it alive. These processes are necessary for maintaining life, and these responses must ensure that your body continues to function correctly.

In addition, it affects the total number of calories you will burn over a single day, which is an essential factor in weight loss. The number of calories expelled from your body daily is directly proportional to the rate at which your metabolism operates.

The rate at which four fundamental components determine your metabolism functions. These factors, in alphabetical order, are as follows:

  • The amount of calories burned while the body is at rest or while a person is sleeping is referred to as one's "resting metabolic rate" (RMR), and it is measured in terms of the number of calories. RMR is commonly shortened to just RMR. It is the very minimum that is required to save your life and make sure that you can continue functioning normally.
  • The number of calories burned due to digesting and absorbing food is referred to as the "thermic effect of food," or TEF for short. This figure is determined after an individual has consumed, digested, and absorbed food. This value is also known as "thermic energy expenditure," another name. In most cases, the total energy expenditure attributable to TEF will amount to ten percent of the total number of calories you burn throughout the day.
  • The number of calories that are burned by the body as a direct result of taking part in a particular form of physical exercise.

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

  • The quantity of calories that are burned by activities that do not involve any physical exercise is referred to as "non-exercise activity thermogenesis" (often called "non-exercise activity thermogenesis"). This word can also be spelled "non-exercise activity thermogenesis." These include behaviors such as standing, fidgeting, performing chores around the house such as washing dishes, and other actions of a similar nature.

In addition to these parameters, other aspects of your body, such as your age, height, the amount of muscle mass you possess, and fluctuations in hormone levels, can all have an impact on your metabolism.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that the rate at which your metabolism runs will eventually slow down as you get older. That is a natural process associated with aging. Because you are not as active as you previously were, which is one of the reasons why this is happening to you, you may be experiencing a loss of muscle mass, which may be one of the reasons why this is occurring. There is also the fact that the components found on the interior of your body are getting older as a contributing aspect.


The collective name for all of the chemical reactions that take place within a living body to keep that organism alive is called "metabolism," and the term "metabolism" is referred to as "metabolism." These occurrences are essential for ensuring the continuation of life. Your overall metabolic rate is determined partly by several factors, including your resting metabolic rate (RMR) and the thermic effect of food (TEF). The quantity of physical activity you get daily and the level of non-exercise activity thermogenesis you engage in (NEAT).

Age Is Associated With A Decrease In Activity

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

The amount of physical activity you regularly participate in can impact the rate at which your metabolism operates significantly.

Activity, which can include exercise and activity that does not include training, is responsible for anywhere in the range of 10 to 30 percent of the calories burned by a person daily. Action is responsible for anywhere in the field of 10 to 30 percent of the burned calories. Suppose an individual engages in a significant amount of physical activity regularly. In that case, there is a chance that they will fall into this category at a rate that is as high as fifty percent.

The term "non-exercise activity thermogenesis," or NEAT for short, refers to burning calories through activities that are not considered physical exercise. NEAT can be broken down into two categories: This includes activities like standing for extended lengths of time, carrying out chores around the house like washing dishes, and standing for lengthy periods.

Unfortunately, older individuals tend to be less active than younger people. As a direct result of this, they burn fewer calories throughout the day as a direct result of the fact that their activity levels are lower.

According to specific studies, more than a quarter of persons in their 50s to 65s in the United States do not engage in any form of physical activity outside the workplace. People 75 years old or older have a possibility that it is more significant than one-third that this condition will afflict them.

According to the results of earlier research, not only does inactivity reduce the number of calories expended by around 29%, but it also has this effect on people in their later years.

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

The best way to prevent your metabolism from slowing down is to keep up the same amount of activity you have been doing up until now.

One study involving 65 healthy young people ranging in age from 21 to 35 years and older persons ranging in age from 50 to 72 years found that engaging in endurance exercise regularly reduced the slowdown of the metabolism typically associated with increasing age. The participants in the study ranged in age from 50 to 72 years.


People tend to become less active in their daily lives as they grow older, which means that they tend to be less active overall. You may notice a significant decline in your metabolism if you do not keep a healthy level of physical activity as your metabolism is responsible for burning 10–30% of the calories you consume each day. Suppose you do not maintain a healthy level of activity. That is because your metabolism is in charge of the process of burning calories.

People Tend to Lose Muscle With Age

After 30, the typical adult will lose between 3 and 8 percent of their muscle mass throughout the decade, and this downward trend will persist for as long as the adult population exists.

Research had shown that by the time a person reaches the age of 80, they have approximately thirty percent less muscle than they did when they were twenty years old.

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

Sarcopenia is the medical term for the gradual loss of muscle mass with age. Sarcopenia is a natural consequence of aging, and the process of aging is the root cause of this disorder. The medical condition known as sarcopenia can result in broken bones, a decrease in strength, and even possible death at a younger age.

In addition, sarcopenia can slow down your metabolism, which is somewhat counterintuitive. Considering that having more muscle would usually enhance your metabolism while resting. Sarcopenia, on the other hand, has the reverse effect of this.

According to the findings of a study that comprised 959 participants, those over the age of 70 had a resting metabolism that was 11% slower and had a drop in muscle mass of 20 pounds (9 kg) compared to those who were 40 years old. A decrease in muscle mass of 20 pounds was detected in persons over 70, according to the study's findings (9 kg).

One of the reasons you lose more muscle as you get older is that you become less active as you grow older, which is also one of the reasons why the degree of activity you engage in influences the muscle mass you have. As you get older, you become less active.

The consumption of fewer calories and proteins and a reduction in the production of hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and growth hormone are two other factors that may have contributed to the development of this sickness.


If you have more mass in your body, your metabolism will always be more active, even when you're just sitting there doing nothing. On the other hand, as people get older, they become less active physically, the composition of the foods they eat shifts, and the rate at which their hormones are created slows down, all of which contribute to a loss of muscle mass. In addition, as people get older, they often consume less protein in their diet.

Metabolic Processes Slow Down With Age

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

Your resting metabolic rate, also known as your RMR, is the rate at which your body burns calories while resting. The chemical processes regulate this rate within your body.

The sodium-potassium pumps inside your cells, and the mitochondria within those cells are the two biological components responsible for driving these operations. They are referred to as the sodium-potassium pumps when considered as a unit.

While the mitochondria are in charge of manufacturing energy for your cells and also contribute to the contraction of your muscles and heart, the sodium-potassium pumps are involved in the generation of nerve impulses and the contraction of powers and the heart.

According to the conclusions of the research, both components lose some of their efficiency as you get older, which slows down your metabolism.

One study, for example, compared the rates of activity of the sodium-potassium pumps in younger men (27 of them) with older men (25 of them). The older men moved more leisurely, and the younger guys completed the race at a noticeably faster rate than the older males. Because the pumps were 18% slower in older persons, you reduced their daily caloric expenditure by 101 calories.

In a separate study, the researchers compared the alterations that took place in the mitochondria of nine younger persons (with an average age of 39) and forty older adults. The participants in this study ranged in age from 39 to 80. (average age 69).

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

According to the findings of specific studies, older people's cells contain approximately 20 percent fewer mitochondria than the cells of younger people. In addition, the mitochondria in their cells were around fifty percent less effective in utilizing oxygen to generate energy, which is a function fundamental to running one's metabolism. You showed this to be the case.

The influence that these internal characteristics have on the rate at which your metabolism operates is significantly less significant when compared to the effect that your exercise levels and the amount of muscle mass you possess on the rate at which your metabolism runs. These two factors have a much more significant impact on the rate at which your metabolism works.


As we age, the efficiency of specific cell components, such as the mitochondria and the sodium-potassium pumps, decreases. As we get older, we will find that this is especially true. However, the effect on metabolism is not even as dramatic as it would be if you took both the loss of muscle and the drop in physical activity into consideration simultaneously.

What Is The Rate At Which The Metabolism Slows Down With Age?

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

Several factors, such as the amount of muscle mass you have, the amount of physical exercise you get, and some other components of your lifestyle, can affect the rate at which your metabolism functions. Because people are not carbon copies of one another, their rates of metabolic activity are not equal to one another. That is a direct effect of the fact that people are not identical.

One study, for instance, compared the RMR of people between the ages of 20 and 34, 60 and 74, and more than 90 years old. People who have reached the age of 90 have a caloric expenditure that is approximately 422 calories lower than those in the age group, including the youngest people. It is estimated that individuals between the ages of 60 and 74 have a caloric expenditure of around 122 calories lower than that of the age group that is the youngest.

On the other hand, when scientists took into account differences in gender as well as the amount of muscle and fat that was present, they discovered that individuals aged 60–74 burned only 24 fewer calories per day on average, whereas individuals over the age of 90 burned 53 fewer calories per day on average. You discovered this after the scientists observed that individuals aged 60–74 burned only 24 fewer calories per day on average.

As a direct result, it should not be surprising that maintaining your muscle mass as you get older is of the utmost importance. In fact, it is one of the most important things you can do.

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

In a different study, 516 older adults (aged 60 and older) a study was conducted on a group of people who were observed for twelve years to determine the extent to which their metabolism slowed with the passing of each decade. There was a close observation of the volunteers by the researchers in order to determine why their metabolisms had slowed. When differences in muscle mass and fat distribution are considered, the average number of calories burned while at rest for women decreases by 20 calories every decade. In comparison, males' average number of calories burned while at rest decreases by 70 calories every decade. That is because women have less muscle mass than men, and their fat is distributed differently.

It is important to note that over the last decade, men and women have been less active, resulting in 115 fewer calories being burned as a direct result of physical exercise. That is a trend that you should take into consideration. That demonstrates how important it is to maintain a healthy level of physical activity even as one gets older to keep one's metabolism in good working condition.

Despite this, one study's results suggested no noticeable gap in RMR amongst women of different ages. On the other side, the people in the study who were the oldest survived for more than 95 years, and the researchers believe that they could live for such a long time because their metabolisms were faster.

In a nutshell, the research suggests that the two things that have the most significant adverse effect on your metabolism are decreasing your level of physical activity and losing muscle mass. That is because these two things have the most significant negative impact on your metabolism, and these two elements work together to slow down your metabolism.


Demonstrates that the two significant elements contributing to a slow metabolism as a person ages are the loss of muscle mass and a drop in physical activity. That is especially true for women as they age, and everything else in the equation has far less impact on the final result when measured against these two criteria.

What Are The Causes Of A Slowing Down Of Your Metabolism As You Age?

Does Metabolism Slow With Age

Even though it is normal for a person's metabolism to slow down as they get older, there are several things that you can do to prevent this effect. These things include eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and not smoking. Increasing the frequency of your workouts is one of these things. Here are just six of the many different ways that you can fight back against the detrimental impact that aging has on your metabolism:

1. Try Resistance Training

Resistance training, such as running or lifting weights, is one of the most effective things you can do to keep your metabolism revved up, and it is also one of the most time-consuming things you can do. Swimming is one form of resistance training, but many others are perfect.

It provides the advantages of exercise and helps preserve muscle mass, which are elements that influence the rate at which your metabolism operates.

According to the findings of a study that included 13 healthy men between the ages of 50 and 65, 16 weeks of weight training three times per week led to a 7.7% increase in their resting metabolic rate (RMR). During the entirety of the test, none of the subjects experienced any adverse health effects.

A further study with 15 participants ranging in age from 61 to 77 years old found that six months of weight training performed three times per week led to a 6.8% increase in resting metabolic rate compared to the beginning of the weight training program. This increase was seen compared to the beginning of the weight training program (RMR).

2. Try High-Intensity Interval Training

Try High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training, often known as HIIT, may assist you in combating the natural slowing down of your metabolism that occurs with advancing age. It is a form of physical preparation involving alternating periods of intense anaerobic work with brief recovery intervals between the bouts of low activity. While reducing the likelihood of muscle damage as much as possible, this method aims to boost aerobic capacity.

In addition, the calories you burn off during a HIIT workout will continue to be burned off for a long time after you have completed your session. This particular action is referred to by its specialized name, the "afterburn effect," in common parlance. That happens because your muscles have to use additional energy to recuperate from the workout you just finished, which causes them to feel fatigued. That, in turn, makes you feel exhausted since your muscles are tired.

Research has shown that high-intensity interval training can lead to an increase in calorie expenditure of up to 190 in the 14 hours that follow the workout. This increase in calorie expenditure can be attributed to the increased intensity of the session.

In addition, studies have indicated that engaging in high-intensity interval training can boost the body's ability to build and keep its muscular mass even as a person ages. This advantage is especially noticeable in adults of advanced age.

3. Get Plenty Of Sleep

Get Plenty Of Sleep

According to the findings of a number of studies, one of the many potential negative effects of not getting enough sleep is a sluggish metabolism. That is only one of the many potential adverse effects of not getting enough sleep. On the other hand, this effect is vulnerable to being nullified by having an acceptable quantity of sleep the night before it is to take effect. This impact is susceptible to being rejected by getting adequate sleep the night before it takes effect.

According to the findings of one study, the average person's metabolic rate is 2.6% slower after only 4 hours of sleep compared to after 10 hours of sleep. This change occurred as a direct result of a reduction in the total amount of time spent sleeping. It's good that all it took was one night of longer sleep (about 12 hours) because that was all necessary to return the metabolism to normal.

Furthermore, it suggests that a lack of sleep may contribute to a more significant loss of muscle mass than would otherwise be the case. Because the amount of muscle you have influences your resting metabolic rate (RMR), decreasing the amount of power you have may cause your metabolism to slow down. That is because your RMR is affected by the muscle you have.

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you should consider turning off all of your electronic devices for at least one hour before going to bed. That will help you get ready for sleep and make it easier to fall asleep, making it more likely that you will go to sleep and stay asleep for the duration of the night. You might also try taking a nutritional supplement developed to assist those who have trouble sleeping.

4. Eat More Protein-Rich Foods

Eat More Protein-Rich Foods

Increasing one's consumption of meals that are high in protein is an excellent strategy for combating a sluggish metabolic rate. This approach has the potential to be fruitful.

Consuming, digesting, and absorbing foods high in protein causes your body to burn a greater number of calories than eating foods lower in protein. That occurs as a result of the fact that your body must expend more energy in order to process foods that are high in protein. This phenomenon has been referred to as the "thermogenic influence of food," a word that has been used to describe it (TEF). The TEF for diets that are heavy in protein is higher than the TEF for diets that are high in carbs and lipids, and the TEF is increased for diets that contain a significant amount of protein.

Studies have indicated that increasing the amount of protein you consume from 25–30% of your total calories to 35–40% could improve your metabolism by as much as 80–100 calories per day. That is in comparison to diets that contain less protein.

Another important step in the battle against sarcopenia is ensuring you get the recommended amount of protein from your diet. Therefore, eating a diet high in protein can help preserve muscle, which can assist in slowing down the process of aging that occurs in the metabolism. That is because muscle helps the body to burn calories more efficiently.

Increasing the amount of protein you consume on a daily basis can be performed straightforwardly by including a source of protein in each of your meals. You can do this in a variety of ways, including the following:

5. Make Sure You Eat Enough Food

Make Sure You Eat Enough Food

Your body will enter a state known as "starvation mode" if you consume a diet that is low in calories, which will reduce your metabolic rate. That will happen if you do not ingest enough calories.

Dieting may be beneficial while you're younger, but as you age, it's more necessary to focus on keeping your muscle mass than it was when you were younger. Dieting may be beneficial when you're younger, and it's possible that dieting will still be helpful.

In addition, older people tend to have less appetite than younger people, it is possible that this might have the effect of lowering calorie intake and slowing down the metabolism.

If you find that you have trouble ingesting enough calories due to a lack of appetite, you may want to explore eating more frequently but in smaller portions, than you are accustomed to. Because of this, you will be able to ingest the required number of calories. It is also a good idea to always store high-calorie foods like cheese and nuts in your kitchen, such as for times when you unexpectedly have company over.

6. Drink Green Tea

Evidence suggests that ingesting green tea can increase metabolic rate by between 4 and 5%.

That is due to the presence of plant components in green tea and caffeine, which have been found to enhance the metabolic rate even while the body is at rest. Drinking green tea can help you burn more calories even when you are not actively doing anything else, which is why.

Drink Green Tea

After experimenting with ten healthy males over a day, researchers discovered that giving the participants green tea three times a day resulted in a 4% rise in the participants' overall metabolic rate. Throughout the experiment, it became clear that this was the case.


Even though this happens naturally with age, there are several things you can do to prevent your metabolism from slowing down as you get older. One of these things is exercising regularly. That includes performing activities such as lifting weights, taking part in high-intensity interval training, obtaining plenty of rest, consuming a suitable quantity of calories and protein, and drinking green tea.

The Bottom Line

According to the findings that have been carried out on the topic, the rate at which your metabolism slows typically down as you get older is one of the effects of aging.

A sluggish metabolism can be ascribed to a number of things, including decreased physical activity, the loss of muscle mass, and the natural aging process of the body's components. However, the most common cause of a sluggish metabolism is simply becoming older. On the other hand, age is one of the most important factors to consider.

Bottom Line

You are in luck since a variety of information is available on preventing the adverse effects of aging resulting from a sluggish metabolism. These negative effects of aging are associated with getting older, and the unstoppable march of time is responsible for these impacts, as one might expect.

That includes lifting weights, taking part in high-intensity interval training, consuming appropriate calories and protein, sleeping for the recommended amount of time, and drinking green tea. Those are just some examples of the items that can be classified in this umbrella term.

You can try incorporating a few of these tactics into your daily routine if you would like to help you keep your metabolism strong and boost it at the same time. That will allow you to help maintain your metabolism's strength and may also give it a boost. Does metabolism slow with age? You will be able to assist in keeping your metabolism going strong and maybe boost it.

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