Importance of Maintaining Muscle Mass During Menopause (By Deon Hall Garriques)
As you age, you begin to lose muscle mass also known as Sarcopenia (a reduction in muscle strength and size), and, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
The body is made up of about 40 percent muscles that are used for daily movement and activities.
Every 10 years or so, most adults will lose between five and seven pounds of muscle and for women over the age of 30, muscle density decreases and intramuscular fat increases around the thighs. Therefore it is important to incorporate some type of resistance training in your workout routine.
In addition to losing muscle mass due to aging, there are some other factors that can influence loss of muscle mass, such as insufficient protein intake, decline in muscular activity, physical inactivity, injury, or illness.
What happens when you lose muscle mass
As you lose muscle tissue, your metabolism also decreases by about 5 percent, which usually leads to a slower metabolism contributing to weight gain. Strength training can slow the metabolic decreases, muscle loss, and weight gain that normally occur in middle-aged women.
What can you do?
If strength training is not currently part of your exercise routine, it is never too late to start. But if you already have one, then you should consider gradually increasing to heavier weights over time
A cadence of 1 to 3 days per week for about 20-30 minutes is a great place to start
Resistance is based on your preference and incorporating a variety is recommended. For example, using free weights (weight will depend on where you are), starting with a weight that is comfortable (2, 5, 10 lbs, etc.). You can also use a variation of weight equipment in the gym or your own body weight (planks, pull-ups, sit-ups, etc.)
Consider hiring a personal trainer to get you started
A consistent practice can also help to improve muscle mass
Benefits of resistance training
Helps to maintain or increase your muscle mass. When your muscles are strong, the likelihood of injuries is reduced, your body composition is improved, and you experience an increase in confidence and a shorter recovery time from physical activity
Increase muscle fibers which slows the loss of muscle mass
Linked to high bone mineral density in adults and slows skeletal deterioration which can result in osteoporosis
Slows down the decrease in metabolism and weight gain
Reduces the risk of adult-onset diabetes
Promotes Lower blood pressure
Decrease arthritis pain
Improves lower back health
Strengthens the muscles around joints, which aids in joint functioning
The key is to start doing some form of resistance training regardless of where you are right now. You will definitely see the benefits in how you feel and you will also improve the quality of your life.
I would love to hear your thoughts on resistance training, do you have a routine, do you plan on starting one, or you have not yet decided?
Source: Action Plan for Menopause by Barbara Bushman, Janice Clark-Young & American College of Sports Medicine, Human Kinetics.
In Good Health,
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide medical advice. The purpose is to provide education and a broader understanding to my readers. Always seek the advice of your qualified healthcare provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. I do not recommend or prescribe, or recommend changing dosage or discontinuing, any prescription medications or pharmaceutical drugs.
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