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Everybody's Gym

What’s really going on with ageing and weight gain.

Why do we gain fat as we get older?

There are likely to be various unknown factors which play a role in the increased fat gain as we get older, but one which is quite well understood is a general decrease in resting metabolic rate, known to be associated with aging.

Or, in other words, our metabolism slows down as we get older.

So, is it ever too late for weight loss?

Short answer; no.

The answer seems to be by spending more time being physically active. One 2006 study focused on regular runners found that, to offset the effects of age-related weight gain, running distances had to be increased by around 4.4km per week annually for men and 6.2km per week annually for women.

Of course, many older adults go in the exact opposite direction, and become less physically active as they age, which, it turns out, is exactly the wrong thing to do.

As well as spending more time on vigorous exercise such as jogging, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is known to be significantly more effective than steady state cardio when it comes to burning fat.

In fact, many of the benefits associated with HIIT are likely to be especially useful for older people with slowing metabolisms, such as lowering insulin resistance and increasing fat oxidation. Not only that, but research has even suggested that HIIT may have specific anti-ageing benefits on a cellular level.

Of course, doing intense sprint intervals up the side of a hill is not going to be the safest or easiest training approach for many older trainees, and running a long distance every day might be impractical. Here’s where conventional gym

equipment such as treadmills, elliptical trainers and exercise bikes come in, and these should be utilised fully.

To help maintain your muscle mass and bone-density, try incorporating a few weight training sessions into your exercise routine, with lighter weights to begin with. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises also provides other benefits such improved sleep, reduce risks to other chronic diseases and depression, making it a worthwhile activity that will benefit your health.

various factors, including as a slowing metabolism, do lead to greater fat gain in old age. But that doesn’t by any means suggest that an older trainee can’t fight back and stay lean. Research has shown not only that weight loss is safe for older people, but also that increased exercise is the perfect antidote to various age-related conditions.

A good fat-burning training approach for older people could involve finding the time to jog on a treadmill each day, and do HIIT training on a stationary bike one or two days per week.

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