as we get older, the allowances of what is ‘ideal’ go up. See this table from the military which illustrates this. http://www.apft-standards.com/malebodyfat.html).
However, that does not mean that age affects it but it is more difficult to maintain a ‘youthful’ percent body fat as we get older (but not impossible)
Good question. This is different for every person. It depends on their activity level, diet, medical issues, hormonal levels, age, the type of training they are engaged at and overall health history. Yes, as we grow older we lose some lean mass, but when you combine all of the factors together then you get a better picture of how all these will affect the body fat %. I know people who got leaner as they grew older and others who gained more fat. People who stay active into their later year age much better than those who don’t. I have trained clients into their 70s and they were in great shape. They were able to enjoy a lot more in life than some of their friends and their overall health was great. I think what’s important is not so much how lean or what their body fat % is as they grow older, but rather how healthy they are and if they can still do activities like they used to when they were younger (up to a point of course, depending on their age).
Hello Rebecca Moll,
I also see body fat percentages that are all over the place; because, everyone is really very different with their lifestyle and diet choices.
The elite athletes do not have much change, even into their seventies.
Generally, the aging process (50 and older) moves the fat from just under the skin to more internal. This is the reason we hear our elders mention that they need cushioning when choosing furniture. Then that internal fat increases while lean muscle mass decreases.
Therefore, the body fat percentage will increase, even if we may not see it.
Is this what you have noticed?
As we age the manner in which we carry adipose tissue changes as we age. We carry more adipose tissue internally.
According to the ACSM, “Disribution of body fat is sex specific from the third to seventh decade. Whereas women tend to exhibit greater increases in internal body fat after age 45 years, men accumulate greater subcutaneous fat. The previously discussed losses in fat free mass with aging have been associated with decreases in basal metabolic rate of approximately 5% per decade throughout adulthood, which in turn is a contributing factor along with genetics in fat gain.”
Hope this is of help.