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Menopause Fitness Moment: Benefits Of Heavy Lifting During Menopause

fitnessinmenopause heavy lifting menopausefitness resistancetraining Dec 08, 2021
resistance training in menopause

Women often shy away from lifting heavy for fear of getting too bulky. The truth, however, is that lifting heavy can make you stronger and leaner without adding size. Use a weight that you can only lift for five or fewer repetitions for this to happen. Lifting heavy for higher repetitions can increase muscle size, which is also lovely. I like to mix in both formats to give my body variety. So once per week, I will lift very heavy with a weight that keeps me under six repetitions, and the rest of the week, I keep my other workouts at a higher repetition range (8-12). It is important to note that if you choose to go very heavy, you have to give your body adequate time to rest. My recommendation is not to exceed one very heavy lifting session per week. Without proper rest, you are putting yourself in danger of injury.

Here are a few reasons you should be lifting heavy:

Increases in Growth Hormone (GH)

GH is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, and one of its most essential functions is stimulating the breakdown of fat and protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It naturally declines with age. Overall, it is a critical player in developing lean muscle mass and burning fat. For women over 35, increasing GH can be especially beneficial because the natural aging process combined with menopause accelerates muscle and bone loss.

Helps Increase Resting Metabolic Rate

Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the energy (calories) required to keep your body functioning at rest. It declines as a part of the normal aging process. By taking steps to increase your RMR, you are making your body burn more calories in a resting state. This is a good thing! Resistance training, especially heavy resistance training, is linked to increased RMR.

Increases Testosterone

Testosterone is the primary anabolic hormone involved in skeletal muscle growth and declines steadily with age. The decline in testosterone is strongly associated with decreased muscle mass and strength. This is especially important for women because estrogen decreases are linked to a more rapid decline in muscle mass. Levels in women in their 40s are about half of those in their 20s, and there is a 60% reduction within 2-5 years of menopause. In addition, the combination of declines in testosterone, estrogen, and GH is known to contribute to increased abdominal visceral fat, which is another reason to get some heavy lifting in!


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