New Research Reveals How Your Age Really Affects Your Metabolism

Along with the development of wrinkles and gray hair, the slowing of one's metabolism has long been thought of as a natural part of the aging process. According to the National Health Service, metabolism is the chemical processing your body undergoes to maintain healthy organ function, including essential tasks such as breathing and breaking down food for energy. In fact, so much energy is involved in this process that your baseline metabolic rate can make up as much as 80% of your body's daily energy needs.

Because your metabolism burns calories as it goes to work, your metabolic rate does influence your weight to some degree (via Mayo Clinic). Everyone's resting metabolic rate is different, but just as your level of physical activity often begins to decrease with age, many believe that metabolism slows along with it. However, a 2021 study of over 6,000 participants reveals a new link between age and metabolism — or more specifically, a lack thereof (via CNN).

Lifestyle factors are more likely to influence your metabolism

New research published in the medical journal Science revealed that, rather than decrease, metabolism sustains its function for a duration of 40 years, from age 20 to 60 (via CNN). Even more interesting, the yearly rate at which metabolism slows after age 60 was found to be just a fraction of a percent. With age playing a seemingly minor role in the progression of our metabolic rate, this research shows us that it's not so much age that influences our metabolism, but rather other outside factors. Additionally, these findings held true for both men and women, thus debunking the widely held notion that women's metabolism slows faster than men's and that women experience more age-related weight gain as a result.

When it comes to boosting your metabolism, medical experts say that lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and sleep play a far bigger role than age. Colleen Alrutz of Piedmont Newnan Hospital said, "Exercise and strength training play a key role in boosting metabolic rates and keeping weight off, especially as we age" (via Piedmont Healthcare). Additionally, eating food items such as meats, hot peppers, and green tea will burn more calories during digestion than other foods. "Keeping your metabolism working at a healthy rate is so important to daily functions" Alrutz concluded.