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Metabolism and Anti-Aging

Question: I am a 45 year old woman and recently I heard that you lose muscle every year due to aging. Is this true and what should I do to increase my metabolism and offset the deleterious side-effects of aging?

Aging is an interesting phenomenon that can be challenging both physically and emotionally. In your early 40’s, many physiological events occur that can be detrimental to your health: decreased metabolism, changing hormones, a decrease in bone density, and a loss of lean muscle tissue. These are all important components to your physical health that you can’t afford to let happen.

When it comes to increasing your metabolism, you absolutely need to do everything possible to rev your “body’s natural engine.” There are many ways to assist your metabolism raise to its highest level possible. When it comes to muscle loss, you lose lean muscle tissue every year after age 40. Considering that one pound of lean muscle burns approximately 50 calories at rest, this is an important factor to consider if you are looking to lose weight, feel great, and be at your optimal health. The good news is that you can do something about all this. The following guidelines will help you build lean muscle tissue and increase bone density, and in turn, help you balance out your hormones and increase your metabolism:

Strength Training. 2-3 days per week should you incorporate resistance training as part of your exercise program. Examples include pushups, situps, walking lunges, squats, dirty dogs, modified pullups. You can also use free weights or machines to help derive maximum results. Your strength training program should be approximately 30 minutes in length.

Cardiovascular exercise. 3-4 days per week (could be the same days as your strength training) you must get in aerobic activity. This includes power walking, jogging, cycling, elliptical training, step mill, swimming, or any physical activity that will keep your heart rate elevated for at least 20 minutes at an optimal level. An optimal level would be considered 60-85% of your maximum heart rate (Max heart rate = 220 – AGE). The use of a heart rate monitor will allow you to most effectively measure your heart rate.

Interval Training. Whether you are strength training or doing cardiovascular exercise, use high intensity interval training. When using weights, “superset” your lower body and upper body exercises. For example, do a set of lunges for 1 minute and immediately proceed into doing a set of situps for 1 minute. Repeat this for 3 sets and that would be an example of how you could use an alternating style of exercises to help keep your intensity up while strength training. When performing cardio, perform 3-5 short bouts of approximately 30 seconds of “sprinting”. It is found that interval training is a highly effective way to burn calories, build lean muscle tissue, and maximize time and results.

Eat frequently. You should be eating every 4 hours. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. Small portion sizes consumed regularly is more effective to keep your metabolism steady.

Get enough protein. Consume .7-1.0 g of protein per pound of bodyweight. This can be done via consuming lean sources of protein: chicken, fish, legumes, soy products, etc. If you are a vegetarian or have a difficult time consuming enough protein, consume a protein shake (whey or soy) for breakfast, after a workout, and/or before going to bed. A protein shake or protein bar is an easy way to get in a great source of protein and replenish any lean muscle tissue that has been broken down during a workout.

Sleep. Sleep is an essential element to rebuilding muscle and allowing your body to recover and recuperate. Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night and the earlier you go to bed, the higher quality of sleep that you will get.

As you try to defy age and feel your best, remember that you create your own success in life. Make a commitment to your health and fitness routine and you will find success in many areas of your life. Your metabolism will be raised, your bone density will be increased, your lean muscle tissue will be increased, you will look better, you will feel better, and your energy will be increased. Enjoy the process of improving your health as you age chronologically. If you are doing everything you should physically with your health and exercise routine, rest assured that you can still look great, feel great, perform well, and have the vitality and energy to thrive in all aspects of your life.

Todd Durkin is a 2 Time Personal Trainer of the Year and Founder of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego, CA. He trains people from all walks of life, but is best known for the work he does with over 25 NFL Superstars. He trains the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Alex Smith, and Donnie Edwards amongst others. His expert staff of 30 trainers, coaches, and massage therapist/bodyworkers perform over 400 weekly sessions and help educate, motivate, and inspire the world to greater levels of health & fitness. Todd has 17 DVD’s on fitness & sports performance and has been featured in many national magazines and media outlets. His ezine newsletter “TD Times” is his way of connecting clients, trainers, coaches, colleagues, and friends from all over the world. He can best be reached via his websites,, or by using the contact form below: [easy-contact]

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