With the onset or conclusion of menopause, women will experience changes in their body shape, size and overall energy level. Women may not be able to avoid menopause, but with the right exercise program, they can avoid some of the physical changes that go along with it.
Exercise for Weight Loss
Regular weight training can help take off some excess body fat, increase muscle mass and increase the metabolic rate. This means their body will burn calories at a faster rate. In order to lose weight by exercise alone, you need to burn an excess of 500 calories per day or 3,500 calories per week to lose 1 pound. I have had the best response with clients that practice a combination of watching their caloric intake and exercising.
The actual amount of time it would take you to burn all those calories depends on how much you weigh, your chosen activity and the intensity of exercise. It is important to exercise daily. Aim for 30 – 60 minutes of exercise per day. Consistency is necessary if you are really serious about losing weight. Gradually increases your intensity as you get more physically fit.
Exercise for Your Bones
Fighting bone loss is another great reason to start lifting weights. Early in the bone loss process, you may not see any signs, but eventually it can lead to broken bones, the disfiguring dowager’s hump, loss of height and certain types of back pain.
Throughout life, your body loses bone. New bone grows to replace lost bone. The rate of new bone growth changes as you age. Young adults reach their peak bone mass between the ages of 25 and 35. That is when your bone is the strongest. From about 35 years and older, bone mass slowly declines. A rate at which your bone declines can be minimized and osteoporosis can be preventable. An active lifestyle, weight-bearing exercise and proper eating can significantly slow down the rate of bone loss.
Weight-bearing exercise will help your entire body and help you maintain bone mass. Resistance exercises help maintain bones by strengthening the muscles around them. Building muscle strength will make you less prone to injury.
It is important to have the right strength training program that includes all of the major muscle groups. For the upper body this includes the back, chest, biceps, triceps and shoulders. For the lower body, the quads, hamstrings, calves and gluteus maximus should all be targeted. And don’t forget the abdominal and lower back muscles which can improve posture, help relieve lower back pain and assist in everyday movements.
Remember to start slow and gradually increase your weights. I recommend two to three times per week, performing each exercise for at least two sets for 10 to 12 repetitions and a 30 – 45 second rest in between each set. Make sure stretching is included in the workout with each muscle group.
Be patient with yourself. You won’t achieve significant gains in the short-term. Exercise needs to be a part of your lifestyle, not just a short-term activity for a limited period of time. You are never too old to start exercising. You decide how active you want to be. The payoff of an active lifestyle is certainly worth the benefits. Ask anyone who is active.