It’s no secret that your metabolism slows as you age. Once women hit the age of 40, metabolic rate decreases as we enter into menopause and begin losing muscle mass. Consequently, women often gain weight around the middle during this period. But, with diet, mild exercises and quality sleep, women can combat the aging process. Here’s how:
Eat the right fats
Eating a diet that is high in protein has been proven to help maintain muscle mass in later age. But eating the right kinds of fats can also be integral to a healthy diet. Monounsaturated fats, like the fat in olive oil, has been heralded as an important component of ‘the Mediterranean diet.’ While a fat, it has been seen not to lead to heart disease. Consequently, monounsaturated fats like that in avocados and most nuts, are a good substitute for trans or saturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats, or essential fats for body function, are found in most cooking oils. Using polyunsaturated fats are recommended to improve cholesterol levels, aiding muscle movement, and decreased inflammation.
Limit alcohol intake
Surprise, alcohol isn’t good for you. It’s loaded with sugar that can go straight to your middle when your body can’t burn it off. Try not to drink more than one drink per day (that’s five ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer).
Mild weight training
Along with eating a protein-rich diet, mild weight training can aid in maintaining muscle mass during middle age. You don’t need to be lifting 50-pound dumbbells, either. Twenty reps of a 10-pound weight can be enough to keep your muscles toned.
Mild yoga is a non-intimidating way to increase flexibility, fortify your muscles, and importantly, strengthen your core. If just beginning, try with an easy tree pose. It will help with balance and is a good opportunity to work on your breathing. The tree pose is also great at isolating the core muscles that you need to tone up your middle.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width distance apart.
- Raise one foot, placing it firmly above the knee of the leg you’re standing on (higher if you can).
- Raise arms above your head and with your hands together, gradually lower them until they are posed in the center of your chest.
- Hold pose for 30-60 seconds.
Regular and sufficient sleep
Lack of sleep can cause a host of problems for your body. In addition to the fatigue and stress, it can also increase the storage of fat around your organs, or visceral fat. According to a 2010 Wake Forest study, people under 40 who averaged five hours of sleep or less a night could see large increases in visceral fat, which has been linked to an augmented risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease and certain kinds of cancers. It’s also a difficult fat to lose. Consequently, maintaining eight hours of sleep a night could be the key to avoiding health risks and keeping trim.