A New Study Dispels The Myths Around Ageing, Menopause And Metabolism - Women's Health

A New Study Dispels The Myths Around Ageing, Menopause And Metabolism

It turns out everything we thought we knew about metabolism might just be wrong.

by | Aug 13, 2021


To reflect back on our youth is to remember a time where parties were judged solely for the party bag’s given out upon leaving, and the school commute saw newsagents and train station stalls raided for their lollies. This was a time where sweets were eaten by the handful and soda guzzled at will, with no care for the nutritional content. While growing up certainly allowed us to hone healthier habits, it also seemed to come with the knowledge that we had to eat healthier, because our metabolism wasn’t what it once was. 

Conventional thinking has it that past your 20s, metabolism slows down, especially around middle age. On top of this, it’s also believed women have slower metabolisms than men, which is why we have a harder time controlling our weight. Throw in things like menopause and your menstrual cycle, and women’s metabolisms slow even more. 

Well, it might be time to ditch such thinking. According to a new study published in Science, it appears our understanding of metabolism for all this time has been wrong. Using data from nearly 6,500 people, ranging in age from 8 days to 95 years, researchers discovered that there are four distinct periods of life, as far as metabolism is concerned. They also found that metabolism really doesn’t vary that much between men and women if some factors are controlled. 

How To Boost Your Metabolism All Day Long

Not surprisingly, scientists are now calling it a “pivotal paper”, as the New York Times reports. One professor admitted to be “blown away” by its findings, and claimed that many will now have to revise some of their ideas. The study involved more than 80 co-authors on the subject of metabolism and combined efforts from a half dozen labs collected across 40 years. Where most research into metabolism is expensive, this strategy allowed the study’s authors to ask general questions about changes in metabolism over a lifetime. 

Central to their findings was that metabolism differs for all people across four distinct stages of life. Up until age 1, infancy sees calorie burning at its peak, accelerating until it is 50 per cent above the adult rate. From age 1 to 20, metabolism gradually slows by about 3 per cent a year. From age 20 to 60, it holds steady. And, after age 60, it declines by about 0.7 per cent a year. When researchers controlled for body size and the amount of muscle people have, they also found no differences between men and women. Researchers found no decline in metabolic rate for women when in their 40s, or with the onset of menopause. 

Still, as one researcher who was not involved with the publication admitted, the basic principles of weight gain are simple: people are eating more calories than they are burning. Regardless of metabolism and new data, at the end of the day you should be fuelling your body appropriate to your dietary and energy needs. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 


Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 


Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 


Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 


Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?