The menopause transition is a slippery slope for muscle loss. Here are some key reasons to lift weights to make and maintain as much muscle as you can.
In a 2021 study, researchers found that compared to women in early perimenopause, those in late perimenopause had 10 percent less muscle mass in their arms and legs.
Why Menopausal Women Need Muscle
Being strong, avoiding frailty, and potentially living longer are reasons enough, but there are even more health benefits of making and maintaining as much muscle as possible, including some you may not have considered:
A Healthier Heart
Muscle mass is good for your heart. In fact, medical professionals often emphasize building muscle over losing weight for women who want to lower their cardiovascular risk. Skeletal muscle protects your heart in a number of ways, including improving blood sugar management and metabolic health, as well as giving you the strength and energy to be more active and maintain high cardiovascular fitness levels. This is important because heart disease is by far the leading cause of death for women.
Muscle loss and bone loss often go hand in hand, especially during the menopause transition, when both tend to decrease more rapidly. Strength training to make and maintain your muscle can also help preserve your bone health. This is extremely important for women.
Better Metabolic Health & Body Composition
Research shows that older women with low muscle mass have a higher risk of impaired fasting glucose (i.e., high blood sugar) and type 2 diabetes regardless of BMI, waist circumference, or fat mass. Muscle mass helps clear blood sugar and reduce the amount of insulin needed to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which in turn helps maintain insulin sensitivity, which is important during the menopause transition and beyond when we can become more insulin resistant. Since insulin resistance has been linked to weight gain excess during menopause, it can also help with body composition.
A longer, healthier life with fewer menopausal-related health risks? What’s not to love? Aim to strength training at least twice a week and remember to eat plenty of protein at every meal and snack (especially around training) to give your body the fuel it needs to make and maintain that vital muscle mass.
Book a session with me and I will help you to build more muscle.