After 45 years of age, muscle loss averages 10% every decade.
The average weight gain for women from 45-55 yrs of age is 12-15 lbs. It’s also estimated that post-menopausal women lose 1-2% of their bone mass every year. The sad thing is, a lot of us just think because we’re getting older there’s no hope. It doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of aging to be a part of those depressing statistics.
There is a way to fight it – you can be a fitter, stronger, slimmer and “younger” you, but what do you do? You strength train!
Strength training is an essential part of a fitness program, but becomes increasingly important the older one gets. Cardiovascular exercise such as walking, jogging, or swimming is very important and needed as well, but it’s not enough. Lifting weights 2-3 times a week increases strength, muscle mass and bone density.
A Tufts University study on post-menopausal women showed 75% increases in strength, 13% increases in dynamic balance and 1% gains in hip and spine bone density. On the flip side, the control group suffered a decrease in muscle mass, bone density and balance.
After menopause, females production of estrogen drastically declines.
Estrogen prevent bones from being broken down. The best way to counteract that is by doing muscle-strengthening exercises – not only does it strengthen your muscles, it strengthens your bones. In addition, balance and coordination improve, deceasing your chance of falls and injuries. One bad fall, a broken hip and your life is changed forever.
Lifting weights helps to increase your fat burning machinery.
What’s that fat burning machinery? Muscle. By adding just 1one pound of muscle, your body will be able to burn an extra 50 calories a day, even at rest. Increasing and at the least, maintain your lean body mass (muscle) as you age will help keep up your metabolism up and keep the pounds off.
Regular muscle-strengthening exercises can slow, even reverse, the deterioration of muscle mass, no matter what age they start.
If you’re not familiar with how to properly do strength training, you can hire a trainer, attend a workshop or class. You want to make sure you do strength training exercises correctly, to avoid injury and get optimal benefits. For those that prefer to avoid gyms, there are plenty of things you can do at home. Balance balls, resistance bands, and dumbbells are available at any sporting goods store reasonably priced. You can also rent or purchase DVDs, or access cable programs and videos on the internet. If that doesn’t interest you, try water aerobics classes. Exercising in the water is great way to strengthen muscles without the worry of putting stress stress on your joints.
The point is, like my favorite ad slogan by Nike says, “Just Do It!”