We’ve all heard the advice. If you want a lean, toned body shape you must eat the correct diet and you have to exercise. But what if that isn’t working for you? What if there are other aspects of your body shape that you would like to change but can’t? It may be that there are some things that are outside of our control.
Age and changing body shape
Most people, especially women, find that their body shape changes as they age. This is partly because fat cells move around your body as you get older. In your twenties, the fat cells are closer to the surface, giving a toned and smooth appearance to your outline. By the time you get to your fifties, the fat cells are larger and centered around the internal organs. This causes the classic widening of the waist area that is sometimes referred to as ‘middle-age spread’.
As you age, your metabolism slows down and this can lead to further weight gain. In women, pregnancy can result in a loss of tissue in the breasts. Exercise and diet cannot alter this but breast implants are a solution.
Your hormone profile
Hormones have a big influence on your body shape. One hormone is produced by the thyroid gland and it controls your metabolism. The slower your metabolism, the fewer calories you burn and the harder it is to lose weight. This is determined by your genes.
As you age, your hormone profile alters. This affects where fat cells are stored and can change your body from a pear shape to an apple shape. This coincides with an increased risk for health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The effect is true for men as well as women and it is harder to build muscle as you get older so you need to spend longer in the gym!
Your choice of lifestyle
Obviously, if you select a sedentary lifestyle, you are more likely to put on weight and you will have a larger body shape. This is something that you can definitely control. However, the situation is a little more complicated than that. Compared to 30 years ago, most of us are spending more time inside and are exposing ourselves less to sunlight. This effect is due to two reasons. Firstly, more occupations now involve staying inside all day and are typified by computer-based jobs. Secondly, people are concerned about exposure to sunlight causing skin cancer and tend to cover up more when they are outside.
Our bodies make vitamin D using sunlight and our lack of exposure to the sun has resulted in many people being deficient in this important nutrient. Research has shown that people who have a low level of vitamin D are more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI) and a higher waist-to-hip ratio and a thickening around the middle.
So, whilst a large part of your body shape is governed by genetics and your age, there are plenty of things that you can do to change it.
This is a contributed post.