It’s a basic fact of life. As we get older our metabolism begins to slow down and the older we get the slower it gets. That’s just how nature works. A slowing metabolism isn’t always noticeable either, it’s something that sneaks up on us and before we know it there’s 10 or 15 extra pounds hanging off our bodies. Or maybe you’ve gained only 5 or 10 pounds but your clothes just seem to fit a lot tighter. As we grow older for many people the body begins to do the unthinkable, it starts getting rid of muscle and replacing it with a nice layer of fat. There a couple of reasons that this begins to happen as we get older. For most people getting older means being less active. We also don’t really change the way we eat and our caloric intake begins to overtake our caloric output. This change can be slow as the fatty layer slowly begins its insidious advance. Human growth hormone, the hormone responsible for our growth from infant to adult hood, begins to diminish. The body, no longer needing to grow, produces less and less of this as it ages. Human growth hormone is also responsible for building and maintaining lean muscle mass and as it diminishes the body has a harder time maintaining its muscle. There is one way to slow the loss of muscle and keep that youthful vigor and body. Research has shown that exercise will keep your metabolism running efficiently and that means burning calories and excess fat. In one study a group of older men was divided into two groups. One group was put on an exercise program the other group was allowed to go about their daily lives. At the end of the study they compared both groups to two groups of younger men with similar lifestyles. The older group of couch potatoes averaged 22.2 pounds more fat than their younger counterparts. The group of older exercisers on the other hand only had about 9.5 extra pounds of fat then their more active younger counterparts. In another study it was found that men who lifted weights can increase not only their muscle strength by over 200 percent but that their growth hormone decline significantly slowed allowing them to not only increase their lean muscle mass but also maintain it. Maintaining or even increasing your metabolism while we age is entirely possible, but it does take a little motivation on your part. By following three simple steps, living healthy, exercising and eating right the slow wasting of muscle mass can be avoided even into our later years.