Over the last 12 months, there has been more media coverage about Menopause - from TV programmes to celebrities telling their Menopause story. It is crazy to think that something that affects half of the population was previously such a taboo subject with so much misinformation out in the public domain.
Now there is much more research about what is the best exercise to do at this time of our lives. Declining estrogen levels have a massive impact on so many different areas, and as we live longer it is vital we lessen the impact of this. It is not just about hot flushes and changes in your menstrual cycle.
For a lot of us, we start to see weight gain, especially around the stomach (this is due to estrogen) and often we start to increase our cardio thinking this is the best way to offset this, but this can exacerbate the problem. Strength training is vital as we enter perimenopause and continue as we are post-menopausal.
Why we need to Strength Train
Muscle Mass decreases as estrogen levels drop, leading to a lack of strength, and muscle loss. Lifting weights can help to maintain and increase muscle mass.
To strengthen bones - declining estrogen levels can lead to osteoporosis
Strength training can help to reduce hot flushes
To enhance your mood and increase confidence
Reduce stress - depending on how you train it can tap into your parasympathetic nervous system so helping to reduce stress.
Training can reduce visceral fat mass, which increases with a lack of estrogen
It is never too late to start strength training. The earlier we start the better it will be for our long-term health, but this does not mean you can not start in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s or beyond. If you are unsure about training then find a trainer that specialises in women´s health who can make sure you are training in the right way for you and your stage of menopause.
Increasing muscle mass will ensure we keep strength in our muscles and bones as we age. We want to be able to continue to live a life full of vitality and passion throughout midlife and beyond.
Ann de Jongh is a Women´s Health and Wellbeing Coach