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Women’s Metabolism after 40.

What happens to your metabolism after 40? In this Vision PT article, our experts share everything you need to know about women's metabolism after 40.
Weight Loss Articles
Weight Loss Articles

By Nathan Weidemann at Prahran

What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns energy. Metabolism is the chemical process the human body goes through to convert food taken in into useable energy.  Your metabolism is responsible for a lot of the chemical reactions that take place in your body and it sees to the maintenance and growth of your cells to ensure the production of energy.

Metabolism is closely linked to one's nutrition and diet, mainly because the human body receives the majority of its energy from the food we eat.  When we are young, have a healthy diet, exercise regularly and take care of ourselves we usually remain within a healthy weight range.

Reduced Muscle Mass
After age 40, the average individual begins to lose muscle mass and because muscle mass burns a lot more calories compared to fat, the total number of calories needed by the body is less than when you were younger.

A lot of people gradually reduce their level of physical activity as they age, which further reduces their number of calories needed to maintain weight. Less activity also means less use of the body's muscles, which contributes to the general decline in muscle mass resulting in muscle atrophy and subsequent changes in body composition.

To ensure your muscle fibres stay strong and healthy complete a minimum 2 Full Body resistance training program every week

Osteoporosis is a musculoskeletal condition that causes a person's bones to become fragile and brittle due to a loss of calcium and other minerals, leading to an increased risk of fractures. Fractures can lead to chronic pain, disability and loss of independence.

A report published in 2013 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics ( ABS) stated that in 2011-12, 3.3% of Australians (760,000 people) reported having osteoporosis. This statistic is expected to rise due to the increase in Australia's ageing population.

A recent study on resistance training for osteoporosis has been conducted by Griffith University to determine the effectiveness of strength training on improving bone health.  The study has proven that resistance training has a significant effect on improving bone health in osteoporotic patients and significantly delaying the progression of osteoarthritis and provide many health benefits such as-

  • conservation of remaining bone tissue
  • improved muscle strength
  • improved aerobic fitness
  • reduced risk of fractures
  • improved balance and coordination
  • improved reaction time
  • reduced pain


The Role of Exercise on Bone Mass
When the skeletal system is exposed to loads that are greater than normal (increased activity levels) the loaded bones deform slightly more than usual. The slight bending acts as a signal to bone to modify its shape and/or size so that this additional bending is minimised during future loading and the bone is protected from injury. Once a bone has adapted to an activity it ceases to change. Varying the types of loading via different exercises and changing weight programs regularly is therefore necessary to ensure that exercise continues to stimulate positive bone adaption.

One thing that can negatively affect metabolism in women is stress.  Middle aged women who are trying to raise a family, work and manage a household are more likely to be stressed than those in their 20's.

When the body experiences stress it releases the hormone cortisol, which floods the bloodstream with adrenaline, increases blood sugar levels and leads to an insulin spike.  As we know from our Nutrition Sessions when the body is releasing insulin we cannot burn fat, which leads to higher fat storage and fluid retention.  If stress is ongoing it has a negative effect on our metabolism and makes it almost impossible to lose body fat.

Age-related Estrogen Decline and Metabolic Slow Down
As women age our Estrogen production decreases which as we know is one of the main reasons menopause occurs.  Estrogen is also linked with the thyroid and its ability to release hormones into your system which impact how quickly different macronutrients are metabolised by the body. 

When age related metabolic slow down happens, the food you eat will have a greater impact on your body weight.  This is why it is even more important to focus on nutrition to make sure you are getting enough protein and vegetables to ensure the body has all the nutrients it needs.

What Can We Do?
One of the best ways to ensure we keep out metabolism firing and do not put on extra weight as we age is to ensure you have a balanced, healthy diet, complete two resistance weight training sessions per week and ensure we keep moving.  By exercising regularly, the body will maintain muscle mass and relieve the stresses of everyday life.

We can tend to put family, friends or children before ourselves.  We need to start putting our own health and wellbeing within our top 3 priorities because in the end if we are not around to look after our family, then who will?

We hope you found this article helpful for your long term health and fitness success. Check out our other blogs for more articles or email us at for any tips, advice or assistance. Other who liked this article also liked Benefits of exercise during pregnancy.




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