Menopause and the Benefits of Strength Training

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Hey “Ladies of a certain age”, as Wendy Williams would put it AND of course, younger ladies; You may want to pay really close attention to what this article will  tell you with regard to your fitness goals as you approach and live in your menopausal years.

A woman’s risk for numerous medical conditions, including breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease rises during and after menopause. Working out regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can help offset these risks.

Listen, as long as we keep living, there is no getting away from menopause, but there are ways to keep our physique tight and right if we eat the proper foods and just as important, make sure we keep or add strength training as a part of our fitness regime. It is IMPERATIVE!

Osteoporosis risk increases tremendously following menopause and this is why strength training is especially vital. Strength training helps to build bone and muscle strength, burn body fat, and get your metabolism moving more quickly.

Weight training programs for menopausal women are efficient in retaining muscle mass and impeding sarcopenia (loss of muscle tissue as a natural part of the aging process) and the weakening of the metabolic rate.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) studies shows that after women reach the age of 30, decreases in muscle density and increases in intramuscular fat (fat that is spread within the muscles of the body) are found in cross-sectional areas of the thighs (ACSM 1998c). This trend continues as lean body mass decreases by approximately 15 percent between the ages of 30 and 80 (Cohn et al. 1980). In general, there is almost a 30 percent decrease in overall strength between the age of 50 and 70 years, with dramatic losses after age 70 (ACSM 1998c). \not lift 10 pounds (Jette and Branch 1981). Over the years, the result is less functional ability and a higher percentage of body fat, which contribute to a declining metabolic rate.
There is good news here, and it is, a well-planned resistance training program will increase muscle fiber size in older women. Increasing the size of muscle fibers helps combat the age-related sarcopenia that normally occurs in women. Therefore, your resistance training program helps slow this process.

I believe that people are never too “seasoned” to start a resistance training program and women in particular will benefit both physically and psychologically from it in their peri and menopausal years. I would say, we are ALL probably too old not to exercise no matter what stage of life we are currently. To get started with your strength training program, you may hire a personal trainer or if you prefer working out at home, purchase a set of 3, 5 or 6 pound dumbbells and a strength training DVD  to follow along with.

In the gym, choose from weight machines or free weights. Select a level that is heavy enough to tax your muscles in 12 repetitions and progress from there.

Lastly, menopause can be a pretty rough time in a woman’s life, but try to make every attempt to stay motivated and along with your strength training, make the time to prepare healthy whole foods. This is the time in your life where you really have to focus on you and doing the things that help to make you your best you!

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