As we age, our bodies go through many physical changes. At some point after your thirties, muscle mass and function start to decline. For women this process accelerates after menopause. Muscle mass and function decline at a higher rate if you are physically inactive. The main culprits for muscle loss are lack of exercise, hormonal changes and poor nutrition. Losing muscle mass results in loss of strength and mobility.
Fortunately, losing muscle mass is preventable, and the one tool that works for everyone is exercise.
Burn, baby, burn! Why Menopause Makes It Harder to Lose Weight
You probably already know that the more calories you burn, the less you will weigh. Studies show that women who have reached menopause tend to exercise less than women who haven’t. The weight gained after menopause is mostly due to inactivity, and the gain tends to settle around the stomach area. As muscle mass diminishes with aging, we burn fewer calories, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight. Lean muscle requires more calories to maintain than body fat. By maintaining and increasing muscle mass, you burn more calories.
How to Improve Calorie Burn During, After Menopause
The type of exercise that is the primary treatment for muscle loss is strength training. Strength training is defined as exercise that increases muscular contraction, which builds strength and endurance. This can be accomplished with various pieces of equipment such as free weights, resistance bands, weight machines or even just using your own body weight.
How to Get Started with a Workout
Before starting an exercise routine, it is important to receive clearance from your doctor. Once you get the green light, you will want an exercise program that works for your personal goals and abilities. There are numerous exercise websites and TV programs promoting all sorts of supplements and crazy-looking equipment. Increasing muscle mass is not that complicated, and you certainly don’t need all the gimmicks to achieve it. You just need to get out there and do something.
If you would like to join a health club but feel intimidated by all that equipment, don’t. All you need is a little direction. I would recommend consulting with an exercise specialist at the facility who can assess your fitness level, prescribe an exercise program for you and help you get started.
Stay Committed to Your Workout Routine
Strength training should be performed at least two days a week, although performing three days a week is optimal and you will see faster results. You should perform 8–10 different exercises, 3–20 repetitions for 1 to 3 sets. Don’t forget aerobic activity (such as walking, biking or running) and a healthy diet are also necessary to maintain a healthy weight. And remember, exercise is health!
Do you live in Canton, North Canton or elsewhere in Stark County, Ohio? Are you looking for something beyond a traditional gym or health club? Consider Mercy Health & Fitness Center!
Our certified exercise physiologists and personal trainers will offer you personal attention, as well as a custom fitness plan that right for your health and your personal goal – all at a facility designed with the non-traditional exerciser in mind. Mercy Health & Fitness Center is certified by the Medical Fitness Association and conveniently located at Mercy Health Center of North Canton and open to the community.