How Does Ageing Affect The Shape Of Your Body

How Does Ageing Affect The Shape Of Your Body?

Whether you are an “apple" or a “pear" at birth, your overall body shape will most likely change as you age. This transformation is caused by a number of elements, which are divided into two categories: those that you cannot control and those that you can. The pace of these changes, in particular, is tightly related to lifestyle factors such as exercise, smoking, and diet.


 Medically reviewed by Dr K on 24th May 2022.

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  1. Fat
  2. When and Where Do Women Become Overweight?
  3. Where Do Men Put On Weight?

How Does Aging Affect The Shape Of Your Body?

Whether you are an “apple" or a “pear" at birth, your overall body shape will most likely change as you age. This transformation is caused by a number of elements, which are divided into two categories: those that you cannot control and those that you can. The pace of these changes, in particular, is tightly related to lifestyle factors such as exercise, smoking, and diet.

Your body is primarily composed of several components, the most important of which are bones, muscles, fat, and water. Even if there is no overall change in body weight, changes in body composition (the relative percentage of weight made up by each of these components) are common with age. For example, the quantity of water carried by your body is likely to decrease.  In general, as you become older, your body fat percentage rises while your muscle mass, lean tissue, and bone mineral density decline. Total body water is also expected to decrease as you become older. These alterations, in turn, might result in obvious changes to your body’s appearance (and feelings).

Source - Healthline

Fat 

The ratio of calories consumed to calories expended determines how much weight you will gain or lose. Over time, if you consume more calories than you expend, you will put on weight. Rather than utilising that additional energy to build muscle, your body stores it as fat. When this occurs, the percentage of your weight that is made up of fat rises.

Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue because of its higher metabolic activity. Age-related muscle loss may lead to a change in body composition and a greater rate of fat growth over time.

You can obtain a rough idea of your body fat percentage by taking a few simple measures. Hydrostatic weighing or a DEXA scan can be used to acquire a more precise measurement in a lab.

When and Where Do Women Become Overweight?

Menopause’s drop in oestrogen levels causes a shift in fat storage from the lower body to the midsection, giving women a “pear" shape (an “apple" shape). Subcutaneous fat and visceral adipose tissue make up the majority of your belly fat (fat that accumulates around organs deep within the abdomen).

According to a 2008 assessment of data from nearly 44,000 women, those with larger waist circumferences were more likely to die of heart disease and cancer than those with smaller waists. When it comes to breast cancer risk, women with larger-than-average waist circumferences were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed than those with smaller-than-average waist circumferences.

Over 221,000 people in 17 countries were included in a more recent review study that examined health outcomes. Study authors found that basic adiposity measurements (such as BMI or waist-hip ratio) give little or no new information on cardiovascular risk when predicting a population-wide risk for cardiovascular disease.

Where Do Men Put On Weight?

The decline in testosterone levels that happens with ageing in men is expected to impact fat distribution and hip circumference, both of which frequently decrease as men age.

Diet and exercise may both help you lose subcutaneous and visceral fat. Maintaining a healthy weight will help avoid the accumulation of fat in your midsection as you age. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises that women have a waist circumference of not more than 35 inches and men have a waist circumference of no more than 40 inches.

Muscle

Skeletal muscle contributes to around 40% to 50% of total body weight in healthy adults.

Reduced exercise causes muscle tissue and strength loss (sarcopenia) as you become older. According to some studies, beyond the age of 30, people lose 1% of their muscular mass every year.

Muscle burns more calories than fat, thus having a lower percentage of muscle on your body affects your general weight and health, resulting in a loss of strength and increasing disability.

Maintaining muscle mass as you age requires being physically active and including resistance training in your routine. Mild resistance exercise may help individuals in their 80s and 90s improve strength.

Height 

Not only can you get wider as you get older, but you can also get shorter. According to English research, physical stature diminishes at an average yearly rate of 0.08 percent to 0.10 percent for elderly males and 0.12 percent to 0.14 percent for elderly females, resulting in a 2 to 4 cm loss in height over the course of a lifetime.

However, the study’s authors point out that changes in height might be difficult to forecast on an individual basis. They provide information that suggests that a fall in muscle mass and a decrease in bone mineral density could be the cause of height loss.

Bone mineral density normally peaks around the age of 30 and then declines.

You may slow down the decrease of bone density loss by avoiding cigarette usage, getting enough calcium, and adding weight-bearing workouts like strength training in your daily routine.

Sources

  1. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-your-body-shape-changes-with-age-2223440
  2. Hooper L, Bunn D, Jimoh FO, Fairweather-Tait SJ. Water-loss dehydration and aging. Mech Ageing Dev. 2014;136-137:50-8. doi:10.1016/j.mad.2013.11.009
  3. Zhang C, Rexrode KM, Van dam RM, Li TY, Hu FB. Abdominal obesity and the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: Sixteen years of follow-up in US women. Circulation. 2008;117(13):1658-67. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.739714
  4. Wormser D, Kaptoge S, Di Angelantonio E, et al. Separate and combined associations of body-mass index and abdominal adiposity with cardiovascular disease: collaborative analysis of 58 prospective studies. Lancet. 2011;377(9771):1085-95. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60105-0
  5. Kim KM, Jang HC, Lim S. Differences among skeletal muscle mass indices derived from height-, weight-, and body mass index-adjusted models in assessing sarcopenia. Korean J Intern Med. 2016;31(4):643-50. doi:10.3904/kjim.2016.015
  6. English KL, Paddon-Jones D. Protecting muscle mass and function in older adults during bed rest. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010;13(1):34-9. doi:10.1097/MCO.0b013e328333aa66
  7. Fernihough A, McGovern ME. Physical stature decline and the health status of the elderly population in England. Econ Hum Biol. 2015;16:30-44. doi:10.1016/j.ehb.2013.12.010
  8. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Osteoporosis: Peak bone mass in women. Updated October 2018.

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