The Real Reason Weight Loss Is Hard After 60

The cards are stacked against your body in more ways than one.

Older Woman on Exercise Bike weight loss after 60

The truth is, unlike a fine wine or cheese, your body doesn't actually get better with age. Even if you maintain a strict diet and workout regimen, it can feel like the cards are stacked against you, especially once you reach the big 6-0. If it feels impossible to lose weight after 60, you're not crazy. It's because certain physical factors are making it all the more challenging.

The first reason it's hard to lose weight after 60 is because of your lack of muscle. Beginning around age 30, you start losing three to five percent of your muscle mass every decade. So you can imagine how much you've lost by age 60. That loss of muscle mass also slows down your metabolism, according to Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist, certified sports nutritionist, and CEO and founder of TeamHolland LLC.

"Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, which means the less you have, the lower your metabolism and the less calories you burn all day long," Holland says. "This is one reason it is so imperative that people engage in strength training as they age, to preserve this valuable muscle and prevent their metabolisms from slowing down."

Not only is it harder to build muscle and burn off calories in your golden years, but, according to Holland, hormonal changes also make it harder to maintain and lose weight after 60.

"For example, male levels of testosterone, a hormone integral to muscle building, decreases over time," says Holland.

Another contributing factor keeping you from losing weight after 60 is the sheer amount of toxins, called obesogens, present in your body, accumulated from food and other sources, says lifestyle and wellness coach Andrea Trank.

"They can lead to obesity and the inability to lose weight," she says.

The final reason you struggle to lose weight after age 60 is perhaps the most obvious: You're just less likely to move around as much as you once did in your younger days.

"Older people, in general, tend to be more sedentary from either habit or injury or sickness," says Trank.

Because of this decreased daily activity, that weight that you're so desperate to lose is probably not likely to budge anytime soon. Plus, because of your slowed metabolism, that's "fewer calories burned during rest as well," says Holland.

In order to beat these age-related factors and drop those pounds post-60, you'll have to put in a lot of extra effort and hours in the gym. And if you're looking for tips on how to do that, check out 20 Surprising Weight-Loss Tips That Anyone Can Do.

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Ashley Moor
Ashley hails from Dayton, Ohio, and has more than six years of experience in print and digital media. Read more
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