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Strength training during menopause: How do hormones affect fat loss & muscle gain in women over 50?

Strength training during menopause: How do hormones affect fat loss & muscle gain in women over 50?

Do you know the feeling that things get a bit more challenging around the age of 50? Especially women going through menopause often struggle with their weight, lose strength, and the firmness of their bodies. But this is not a fate to be simply accepted. In this article, you will learn what changes in your body and what it takes for fat loss and muscle building for women over 50.

Why is muscle building more challenging after menopause?

During menopause, women undergo a complex hormonal transition, primarily marked by a noticeable decrease in estrogen levels. This decline has far-reaching effects on the body, from hot flashes and mood swings to changes in muscle tissue. Scientific research, such as a study from Canada, repeatedly attributes the loss of estrogen to accelerated muscle loss and reduced muscle strength in women over 50. This partly explains why muscle building becomes challenging during this life phase because the body must first prevent muscle breakdown before it can build muscle.

What prevents muscle loss:

  • Protein-rich diet. Older people need about 25 percent more protein than younger individuals to maintain bone structure and muscle.
  • Regularly pulling and lifting heavy objects, in short, strength training.

Why do women gain weight during menopause?

The tendency to gain weight during and after menopause is often wrongly attributed solely to hormonal changes. In reality, the normal aging process and altered metabolic rates play a crucial role. This applies not only to women but to everyone. Basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy the body needs at rest, decreases with age. This leads to a negative impact on the energy balance. In other words, without making any changes, your body requires less energy. Hence, many people suddenly gain weight.

The solution lies in adapting your diet and exercise habits to the new circumstances. Nutrition strategies that promote muscle growth and targeted strength training can make a significant contribution.

Watch Egle's video to learn how to speed up your metabolism:

Exercise during menopause: Why is it beneficial?

Did you know that with exercise, you can not only counteract muscle loss and extra pounds but also alleviate menopause symptoms? Here are 6 compelling reasons for more physical activity during menopause:

1. Maintaining muscle mass

Various scientific studies show that strength training, especially resistance training, helps maintain and even build muscle mass in women over 50. These forms of training provide specific stimuli that promote muscle adaptation and can thus slow down muscle loss. Regularly engaging in such exercises is crucial to support muscle health during menopause.

2. Reduction of menopause symptoms through exercise

The bothersome symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood swings, affect the lives of many women. Fortunately, exercise and physical activity can be effective methods to alleviate these symptoms. This has been demonstrated in numerous studies, highlighting the positive effects of exercise on quality of life at any age.

3. Protection against osteoporosis during menopause

Osteoporosis, the loss of bone density, is a serious concern during menopause. Once again, the lack of estrogen is the key factor. However, there's good news: Targeted exercises and strength training can significantly reduce the risk of osteoporosis in women during and after menopause. An example is Andrea Andris, who was able to build bone mass through targeted strength training with AURUM. Intensive strength training promotes bone health by stressing the bones and helping to maintain or increase bone density.

4. Increased total energy expenditure to offset decreased basal metabolic rate

Regular physical activity plays a crucial role in keeping the metabolism active, thereby countering undesired weight gain. Exercise boosts the body's energy expenditure, meaning more calories are burned. Additionally, muscles consume more energy than fat tissue. This can help maintain energy expenditure at a healthy level and control weight. In a way, it can compensate for the declining basal metabolic rate that comes with age.

5. Enhances blood circulation

Regardless of age, exercise improves blood circulation. This not only gives you a beautiful complexion but also contributes to your overall health. During physical activity, your organs and tissues receive better blood flow, resulting in increased oxygen supply. Moreover, this applies to the brain as well. Exercise also provides the brain with more nutrients, thereby enhancing memory performance.

6. Promotes longevity

If you want to be independent, healthy, and vibrant in old age, it's essential to lay the groundwork now. Strength training protects against sarcopenia (muscle loss) and osteoporosis, both of which can lead to immobility in old age. Moreover, exercise and muscle mass prevent the development of lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. No wonder that according to Dr. Peter Attia, exercise is the number one measure for longevity.

How can you build muscle and reduce fat tissue after 50?

Even though it becomes harder to build muscle mass in menopause and with age than it was at 30, it's not impossible. The effectiveness of training and other physical factors become increasingly important. Here's what you should consider if you want to lose weight and gain strength and muscles during menopause:

  • Focus on targeted training with AURUM: An effective strength training program aimed at preserving and building muscle mass should play a central role in your fitness plan. More is not always better, as AURUM training demonstrates. Just one training session per week is sufficient to effectively build muscles and strength. The key is intensity, which AURUM provides. Furthermore, you always have a personal trainer by your side. They will motivate you and ensure the exercises are performed safely. This is especially important as people tend to become more uncertain and fearful of injuries with age, which unconsciously reduces training intensity. With AURUM, you have a time-efficient, effective, and safe training program for better muscle and bone health and reduced fat tissue.
  • Book your free trial training at AURUM --> Schedule your trial
  • Increase your daily activity: Every step counts! Try to incorporate more movement into your daily life. This can be as simple as regular walks, climbing stairs, or doing household chores. When combined with AURUM training, this light cardio exercise becomes the ultimate longevity formula.
  • Nutrient-Rich diet: Are you aware that the need for protein increases with age? It's not easy to implement in daily life, as calorie requirements decrease at the same time. In clear terms, this means you need to adjust your diet to maintain muscles and prevent fat accumulation. Each meal should include a source of protein. This can be legumes, lean meat, tofu, fish, low-fat dairy products like cottage cheese or quark, almonds, sesame, and many more. Another nutrient often neglected is Vitamin D. Learn how Vitamin D is related to muscle health here.

Conclusion: Fat loss & muscle building for women over 50

To answer the initial question: Yes, muscle building and fat loss are possible during menopause when trained correctly. Focus on a healthy diet and exercise as they not only improve menopause symptoms but also contribute to your long-term health. To fully enjoy the benefits of the second half of life, we recommend a time-efficient and effective strength training program like AURUM Training. Following the motto "The strength to enjoy life," we aim to have you spend as little time as possible in our studio so you can do exactly what you want with your valuable free time.

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