Strength training has always had been a bit of taboo in women. I hear ‘I don’t want to be muscley’ or ‘I don’t want to do weights because I’ll end up bulky’. I am here to tell you the fact on why this won’t happen and all the brilliant things strength training will add to your life into longevity.
Motion is Lotion – Rest is Rust!
Why strength train?
Women over 40 begin to lose 1% of their lean muscle mass every year.
Furthermore, during perimenopause, the loss of muscle and bone density increases. Once you go through into post-menopause the oestrogen loss accelerates and the decrease in muscle (this is called sarcopenia) and bone mass is turbo-charged.
Subsequently, both your muscles and skeleton grow weaker which, in turn, makes you more at risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Furthermore, your metabolism slows down, the fat ratio increases and if you don’t have muscle strength your balance goes awry.
Strength training works by putting stress and load on the bone and muscles. As a result, they respond positively. So if your muscles are holding weight – be that a dumbbell or your body weight – they’ll increase bone density and muscle mass.
Building strength improves your muscle tone and bone density and decreases your risk of falls as you grow older. Strength training also helps and improves insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Recent research has even shown that strength training has a protective effect against the risk of dementia. Strength training also can help to rev up the decreasing metabolism and help in burning the fat, even while resting, to avoid the dreaded menopausal weight gain.
As a good guideline, a schedule of two to three strength training sessions per week works well for most women.
When it comes to strength training it’s important to focus on your lean protein intake too. Protein not only keeps you fuller for longer, but it’s crucial to growing and repairing muscle mass and bone health.
Good sources of protein include eggs, chicken, fish, beef, edamame beans, hummus, chickpeas, tempeh, lentils and cottage cheese.
A general guideline recommends at least 1.8 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight a day, which is about 30 grams at each meal, and 15 to 20 grams with snacks.