Do you feel like you have lost your muscles?
Well if you said ‘yes’ you will not be alone.
It is a well-known fact that women lose between 3% and 5% of their muscle mass each year after they reach 30. So by the time you have reached 50 you will already have a declining muscle mass.
Then throw menopause into the mix and things go downhill even further. As we go through menopause and our estrogen levels decline this has a negative impact on our muscle mass. What happens is that we usually have an increase in visceral fat (the fat around our organs and belly), a decrease in our muscle mass and bone density.
So what can we do to stop this decline in muscle mass so that we don't feel like we are losing our muscles?
The answer is simple we need to STRENGTH TRAIN.
Now you don’t need to go out and become a body builder but you do need to lift weights or do body weight exercises regularly.
It is important to use correct technique when you start to lift weights or do body weight exercise as incorrect technique can leave you sore and even worse injured. I highly recommend that you seek guidance from a trainer that can assess your body and where it is at, taking into account any injuries or other physical limitations such as arthritis or chronic joint pain. A trainer will also look at your current health status and work around things such as high blood pressure. It is also recommended that you have a chat with your health care provider and just get the all clear before starting.
So strength training is going to help you stop your muscles disappearing and help you feel stronger but there are also other reasons why women over 50 need to regularly strength train.
As I said before bone density can negatively be affected by lower estrogen levels. This is when many ladies including myself are diagnosed with either osteopenia or osteoporosis. Strength training is well known to help preserve your bone density.
Strength training is also going to help avoid joint injuries. Regular strength training helps build stronger joints. This is particularly so for our knee and hip joints. Strong hip and leg muscles help prevent knee and hip pain.
Now I hear so many say “I can’t do squats as I have sore knees”. Knee pain is very common and is often the result of your knees and hips not moving correctly because the surrounding muscles (gluteal and quads) are weak. Here is a quick little video showing how to squat correctly. showing how to squat correctly.
Strength training also helps prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Why because it helps you build more muscle and decreases visceral fat. A recent US study by the Mayo Clinic shows that participants who regularly strength trained reduced their risk of Type 2 diabetes by 37%.
Strength training is also going to help with posture, flexibility and balance. I think we have all heard of an elderly person who has taken a tumble because they have lost their balance. Having a fall leads to fractures which in turn affects your quality of life and for some elderly people they never leave hospital after a fall.
For me being strong also means that I can get up and down off the floor, it allows me to have fun with my grandchildren and be able to really play actively with them. Who wants to have grandchildren and not be able to enjoy playing with them?
Finally being strong brings a sense of confidence. If we are strong we can get out and enjoy life and not be forced to sit on the sidelines. It gives us confidence in our bodies that they will not let us down.
Being strong also helps you to feel proud of yourself as you know that you are doing your best to look and feel the very best you can. We can start to feel that the number of candles on our birthday cake does not depict how we feel and who we are. We can feel younger stronger and happy to be us.
I specialize in helping women 50 and beyond get strong, live more and be their best. If you need help please reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org as I would love to help you.