As women, we don’t have it easy. Our hormones have a lot to answer for! The changes in levels of hormones throughout our lives have a big impact on our health and vitality.
The majority of women go to the gym to lose weight or maintain a good physique, or because it feels great to be fit, happy and healthy.
But did you know that, as women approach menopause, we start to lose muscle? The process of muscle loss is known as sarcopenia and it is accelerated after menopause. What’s more, from the age of 30, we also start to lose more bone density than we can replace!
You might ask why this should concern you.
As lean muscle diminishes, your metabolism slows down, and that means you burn less fat. If you have a good proportion of muscle mass, you will burn more calories around the clock, i.e. even when you’re not exercising. As we get older, the last thing we want is to replace muscle with fat. Strength training can help slow down muscle loss and therefore makes it easier to maintain a good physique.
Low bone density means that you are more likely to break a bone than someone who has a normal bone density. A decrease in bone density can also mean that you are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Our bones are constantly being rebuilt and as we get older our ability to replace the lost bone mass is diminished. For women especially, a lack of exercise will speed up the normal rate of bone loss in the menopausal phase. Exercise and strength training keeps your bone density and mass at a healthy level.
This is why there is more to the gym than being slim. Lifting weights is particularly good for your bone density and muscle mass. Don’t worry about getting bulky – remember that women have different hormones than men, and that means that we can’t build muscle as easily as men do.