The progressive weight gain that is associated with aging may seem inevitable due to biological factors, but the there are a great many environmental and lifestyle factors to consider as well. While the science behind weight gain as you age is highly complex, but experts have been able to link progressive weight gain to a number of specific factors. Here is a look at the key factors involved in progressive weight gain.
Take a look at how active children and teens are. Many are actively involved in sports, and when they’re not, they’re out doing things that require some form of physical activity. The fact is that many adults are simply less active than they were when they were younger—especially those who hold desk jobs that require sitting at a desk for hours every day. Learn how to keep weight off with a desk job.
The term “age-related sarcopenia” refers to the natural tendency for people to lose muscle mass after age 30. People who are inactive can lose as much as 3 to 5 percent of muscle mass per decade after 30. Age-related sarcopenia is an important biological factor to think about because losing muscle decreases your strength and mobility, and therefore, in turn, it decreases your likelihood to engage in physical activity.
Age-related hormonal decline
Another biological factor to consider is age-related hormonal decline. As you get older—particularly after you turn 30—your body produces less of several different hormones, including growth hormone, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and two thyroid hormones. These hormonal changes can, in turn, cause significant changes in body composition, such as reduced muscle mass, increased abdominal fat, sleep disturbances, and mood disorders.
Increased stress levels
Age-related weight gain can also be traced to increased levels of stress. Many adults face more stress as they get older because they are taking on more responsibilities. Stress affects how your body processes nutrients and foods, and therefore increased stress can contribute to weight gain.
It’s important to consider dietary changes as well. First, the added stress that adults often see can result in overeating or binge eating. It can cause you to eat more processed snacks or fast food as well. Second, many adults are able to afford more prepared food—and more food, in general—as they get older. This can lead to less healthy eating and more overeating later in life.