Over 25 Years Old and Not Motivated to Exercise? Read This!
Are you over age 25? Your best years may behind you! Scary fact, but it doesn’t have to be true.
After the age of 25, the metabolic rate of the average person drops by two to four percent every decade. But what does this mean? Well, your metabolic rate is the amount of energy your body is burning while it’s at rest. Think of it like the fuel required to keep a car idling in neutral. Just like a car, the bigger the engine, the more fuel that’s burnt. But UNLIKE a car, we actually WANT to burn more fuel. The more fuel we burn at rest, the more energy we expend. Energy expenditure is a good thing, because energy we burn is energy that can’t be stored as fat in the body.
For most people (in a westernised environment of labour saving devices, sedentary occupations, and with easy access to food), as they age their body composition changes. They lose muscle and gain fat. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, it takes energy just to keep it alive. So by maintaining muscle, we’re helping to maintain our metabolic rate.
And this gives us some clues into how we should maintain our metabolic rate. There are two primary ways to do this through exercise:
- Increase (or at worst, maintain) the amount of muscle we have. To build (or maintain) muscle, we have to USE muscle. By using your muscles, your body adapts by creating more muscle to make you stronger. Lift weights.
- Exercise at a high intensity. High intensity exercise increase EPOC (excess post- exercise oxygen consumption). This is just a fancy way of saying that after you finish exercising at high intensity, your body keeps working hard for an extended period of time. Basically, your metabolism fires up after you’ve ‘revved’ the engine. How long is this extended period of time? Some research tells us that even five minutes of high intensity exercise can increase our metabolism for 38 HOURS! Low intensity exercise may only do this for 30 minutes. But don’t be put off – the exercise intensity should be relative to you. Work hard and get the results.
So what do we do with this information?
Well, it’s here to motivate you to take action. But motivation is a funny thing. The STRONGEST source of motivation isn’t the promise of future gain, it’s the desire to avoid future LOSS. Generally speaking, we’re more driven as a species to make sure we don’t lose what we’ve already got.
So that’s why the knowledge of your impending loss of metabolism is so powerful. You’ve already got it, but unless you take some of the actions outlined above regarding exercise, you’ll fall victim to a spiralling metabolism to the order of two to four percent a year.
Don’t let age steal your engine, keep it revving and stay young instead!
Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology. He has worked with many thousands of individuals along the full spectrum of health, and has coached at The CrossFit Games. He regularly presents to corporate and fitness industry groups and mentors Fitness Professionals.