Middle Age Spread, Weight Gain and Muscle Loss As You Age

| Dr. Eva Norman

Middle age weightEveryone has heard about it, middle age spread. But is it inevitable? Is it true that you hit a certain age and it happens no matter what? So is it just a matter of aging that you gain weight, plain and simple? It’s not your fault because it happens to everyone with age right? Let me answer these questions with some facts and information that could help you win the battle of the bulge as you age.

Yes, gaining weight does often truly happen as you age. Your metabolism does slow down as you age. With each new decade you enter you lose an average of 8 ounces of muscle; beginning around the age of 25 and continuing through your 40’s. So by the end of your 40’s most people have lost an average of 1 pound of muscle or more. By the time you reach your 50’s you begin to lose even more muscle, increasing to a pound every decade. Because muscle is considered “metabolically active” this means that with the loss of muscle your metabolism begins to slow down. So it is true that as you age your metabolism slows down; which would potentially mean that you are doomed to gain weight or as we call it begin “the middle age spread.” This also means that as we age and our metabolism slows down. If we do nothing to increase our muscle mass there are number of consequences. Common results are weight gain, muscle loss, loss of strength and as we call it the beginning and continuance of that demon we refer to as middle age spread.

It does not have to happen. As mentioned, if we do nothing to increase our muscle mass as our bodies lose it through the years then the odds are pretty high that we will have a weight increase. We will also most probably become weaker as the muscle mass is taken away. However, that’s where Active Aging comes in. As we age, if we remain or become more active we can literally fight the battle of the bulge! Live Your Life Physical Therapy offers a variety of ways to help you fight that weight gain battle; including one-on-one personal training. We can come to you in the environment that you feel most comfortable to work on fitness training and provide nutritional advice that will help build your muscle and rev up your metabolism. Another option, especially for those who have aged to the point where the muscle mass has shown a decrease in their strength, is to bring physical therapy to you for neuromuscular resistance training in order to increase your ability to move easier and build back muscle.

Dr. Westcott of Quincy College in Boston performed a study with over 1,000 participants ranging in age from 21 through 80. In his study he discovered that with muscle building exercising performed only twice a week for 25 minutes each time, the participants gained about 3 pounds of muscle at the end of the 10 week study. In his words, “That’s the equivalent of reversing about 6 years of aging.” Of course this was done with a variety of ages and abilities but the end result was that with some resistance training and muscle building, done at a continuous rate of twice a week for less than 30 minutes each time all of the participants showed an increase of muscle. This means that the battle against aging was being won with something as simplistic as exercising the proper way. That is a very important factor to keep in mind; the proper exercises will give the proper results you are looking for. That’s where we can help.

Bringing Live Your Life Physical Therapy into your life to help you battle the “Middle Age Spread” and loss of muscle mass is one of the best options available. Because our personal trainers and physical therapists know the body so well we can assess your specific needs, notice any muscle loss or weaknesses and address those specific needs. This muscle loss may have actually not been causing weight gain but making you tire more easily and thereby making everyday tasks harder and harder to perform. Because middle age spread technically begins with the loss of muscle mass beginning at the age of 30 we highly suggest that you begin winning the battle immediately. Start early to keep from even beginning to lose the battle against time. Start early to take your body back and actually reverse the aging process!

Call us today if you are worried about battling middle age spread, noticing weight gain or muscle loss or loss of strength as you’ve aged. We want you to Live Your Life AGING ACTIVELY so that you can be strong, healthy and moving well throughout your years.


Dedicated to Keeping You Healthy & Active,

Dr. Eva Norman
President & Founder
Doctor of Physical Therapy

Cited Works & Sites:
Wayne Westcott, Exercise Physiologist – Quincy College in Boston, Research & Study Program on Reversing Aging and Sarcopenia, 2014
Prevention® Magazine – “Belly Fat Over 40 Is Not Inevitable” by the editors of Prevention
Blue Weight Picture by Dreamstime Free Image Distribution – Image #80463


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