Being born, growing up, aging and eventually dying are the stages of life that people experience. During these stages of life, one of the most important parts of the body responsible for our smooth movement (the buttocks), evolves in both shape and size. The buttocks comprise the pelvis (bones), butt muscles (gluteal muscles), fatty deposits (subcutaneous fat) and the skin that holds everything in place. The gluteal muscles are used for movement while the subcutaneous fat is an essential element in shaping the buttocks. The pelvic structure provides support for internal organs, like the uterus, that rest on top of it.
This article delves into the evolution of a female’s buttocks from the ages of 10 years to 60 years and beyond.
Related Post: The Anatomy of a Woman’s Butt
General Effects of Aging
Genetics and hormones determine where the fat is to be stored in our bodies. Studies have shown that in women, the hormone estrogen is responsible for the distribution of fat mostly around the thighs and the buttocks. Women with high levels of estrogen have more fat stored in the thighs and buttocks while those with lower levels of estrogen have fat stored around the abdomen and the midsection (waist area). Estrogen levels in the female body increase during puberty and pregnancy and they fall gradually after menopause or when a woman stops menstruating. This means that as women age, the drop in estrogen levels leads to fat being stored around the abdomen and midsection.
Another effect of aging is the loss of muscle mass. Many researchers including Jan Lexell from the Lund University note that there is a gradual decrease in size or volume of muscle mass with advancing age. This decrease of muscle mass is replaced by fat and connective tissue. All this leads to a reduction in muscle strength. Many older individuals have impaired mobility, increased risk of falls and hip fractures and may require assistance with everyday activities. There’s no doubt that age affects the gluteal muscles just as it does other parts of the body.
According to a study conducted by Marcia Ponce de León and Christoph Zollikofe of the University of Zurich in Switzerland, the pelvises of females aged 70 and above were about 8% narrower than those of middle-aged females, suggesting that the female pelvis constricts in older adults. They identified the estrogen levels, which rise during puberty and decline later in life, as the likely cause of the widening and subsequent narrowing in the female pelvis. This is because estrogen is known to impact bone growth and development. They suggest that the changing shape of the female pelvis may provide a woman’s body with a wider birth canal and more structural support at other times.
Other changes that occur to the buttocks as a result of aging include: loss of collagen and elastin in the skin making cellulite become more apparent (the skin loses it supportive connective tissue thereby losing youthful firmness); gravity’s constant downward pull makes the skin loosen and sag; the crease under the butt becomes longer as the butt begins to droop; and when the underlying structures lose their support due to all these factors, the buttocks lose their youthful appeal. The back side looks less round and less full as more of fat gets stored in and around the belly region.
Evolution of the Buttocks Through the Different Age Groups
In the sections that follow, we delve into the details of how the female buttocks evolve from birth to 70 years and beyond.
From Birth to 7 Years
When children are born, it is very hard to differentiate the butt of a baby girl from the butt of a baby boy. They look similar in structure and shape. A newborn’s shoulders and hips are narrow, the abdomen protrudes slightly, and the arms and legs are relatively short. The pelvis is narrow and non-supportive as the child can neither stand nor walk.
Newborns lose many of the above physical characteristics quickly. As the child grows and begins to walk as early as 8 months, the pelvis broadens and tilts, the sacrum descends deeper into its articulation with the ilia and the lumbar curve of the lower back develops. At this point, in comparison with the male pelvis, the female basin is broader and shallower; the birth canal rounded and capacious; the sciatic notch wide and U-shaped.
This gender difference begins early in life. From birth up to age six, the number and size of fat cells triple in both boys and girls, resulting in a gradual, and similar, increase in body fat. But after about eight years of age, girls begin gaining fat mass at a greater rate than boys do.
Ages 8 Years to 19 Years
From 8 Years of age, girls enter into the preadolescence stage where they begin gaining fat mass at a greater rate than boys do. Adolescence (puberty) begins to set in from the ages of 12 years onwards (or even earlier in some girls). This is the period of transition between childhood and adulthood involving biological, social and psychological changes. During this time, dramatic changes in the body are observed.
At the onset of puberty, a girl’s butt is small and firm and fat distribution is at its lowest. This is mainly due to the low estrogen levels. During the adolescent growth spurt, the rate of fat increase in girls almost doubles that of boys. In addition, higher levels of estrogen are produced causing the lower half of the pelvis to widen. This prepares the body for pregnancy and childbirth by enlarging the birth canal.
Fat (subcutaneous) tissue also increases to a greater percentage of the body composition than in males. The fat accumulates in the typical female distribution fashion in the breasts, hips, buttocks and thighs. This general acceleration in body fat accumulation, particularly sex-specific fat, is attributed mostly to changes in female hormone levels. The result is a female body shape with the fat going to the buttocks giving them more shape and curve.
The new hormones may bring along unwanted side effects for example, one might get pimples on their butt. Usually they are similar to the ones you would get on your face, but other times it may be folliculitis, which is an infection of the hair follicle. This can be treated easily just from normal cleansing.
Ages 20 Years to 29 Years
After adolescence, the accumulation of sex-specific fat more or less stops, or decreases dramatically. By 20 years of age, the shape has formed and one may have a lot more fat back there. The hormones that came along with puberty will have given a female more traditionally woman-like shape and she might even have more fat in her butt, making it look rounder and popped out effortlessly.
Throughout most of their lives females have a higher percentage of body fat than males. By 25 years of age, for example, healthy-weight women have almost twice the body fat that healthy-weight men have.
The 20’s is the decade to make sure that the butt stays rounded, firm and toned to ensure that in your 40’s, you still have a strong butt. One can do this by incorporating butt exercises into their workout regimen.
Ages 30 Years to 39 Years
Research has shown that once a woman hits her 30’s, it’s all downhill for the butt. In this decade, the body starts to lose muscle mass and tone. In addition, the skin cell turnover and collagen production starts slowing down and she may start losing firmness and that bounce and smoothness she used to have on her butt. This can result in drooping, sagging and wrinkling.
This is the best time to incorporate butt exercises in your workout regimen if you had not done so. Doing squats and lunges and sitting less should be the top butt-related priorities. Keep moving your body and toning up as much as you can.
Ages 40 Years to 49 Years
In this decade, your estrogen levels are starting to dip and you may notice sagging and fat in your hips. This makes your butt look less perky. However, if you keep doing butt-focused workouts and are eating pretty clean, you can totally keep your glutes in shape, lifted and tight.
The main challenge in your 40s is to try and maintain your overall tone so that when your hormones change at menopause, they won’t affect the butt as hard as they could if you slacked off. Doctors say that that lunges, squats, and other butt workouts can help keep an already lifted and shapely backside intact. This is important because with your 50s comes a significant change (in hormones) that will have quite an effect on your butt.
Ages 50 Years to 59 Years
The average onset of menopause is 50.5 years, but some women enter menopause at a younger age, especially if they have suffered from cancer or another serious illness and undergone chemotherapy. During the menopause period, your estrogen levels continue to fall. This definitely has an effect on your butt: not only are you losing fat in your butt, which could make it look flat, but also you are losing your muscle and tone leading to drooping. It’s around this time that backsides tend to look a bit flatter. The drop in estrogen also puts more fat around your stomach and hips.
Keeping up those butt exercises is crucial to prevent loss of tone, and since your fat distribution is about to make you gain some fat in your stomach and hips, your diet will become even more important. Keep moving and also squeezing. It’s recommended that you keep up the posterior exercises. No need to cut them off and just let everything fall apart. Your body still needs a strong backside.
Ages 60 Years and Beyond
In this age group, you have finally made it through menopause, but that doesn’t mean you should stop working out your butt! Strong glutes will give your back and hips support that you really need at this age. It’s also around this time that you’ll see how much all those years of butt exercises have helped you.
Your butt may be older than it once was, but if you’ve been working it out and standing rather than sitting as much as possible, your strong butt will help prevent you from falling so you can be just as active now as you always were. In fact, a tight and toned butt is critical to provide the support your body needs as you age.