How to Stay in Shape After Menopause

How to Stay in Shape After Menopause. Post Menopause Health & Fitness

How to Stay in Shape After Menopause. Post Menopause Health & Fitness

image of a woman stretching before a workout

Staying in shape is challenging enough but tack on sleep struggles, memory loss, anxiety, muscle loss, and weight gain…

Sounds like an uphill battle, right?

This condition is actually something more than half of the population goes through!

It’s menopause.

In this article, we dive into a few simple, proven methods for staying in shape through and after menopause. If you’re a woman who wants to avoid experiencing the many negative impacts that menopause can have, keep scrolling.

Jump to Topic:
Strength Training and Menopause
Hot Flashes
Calorie Deficit
High Protein Diet

Menopause is defined as a “biological process,” but it might also be appropriate to describe it as a “challenge” or “health issue.” Menopause produces a number of stressful outcomes, including sleep disturbances, hot flashes, increased urination, poor memory, and anxiety (Leite et al., 2010).

Following menopause, women are susceptible to a number of fitness- and health-related issues. Postmenopause, women are also likely to gain weight, lose muscle, lose bone, and are more likely to develop heart disease (Leite et al., 2010).

Other health concerns at this time are the worsening of a few heart disease risk factors, including the rise in insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes), blood glucose, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

Unfortunately, menopause isn’t avoidable. However, the issues following menopause are avoidable.

Strength training is an especially important part of maintaining health after menopause. There are several reasons why strength training helps.

Image of a happy woman about to lead a workout class

How Strength Training Can Help Post-Menopause

Health and fitness

As mentioned, menopause is often followed by a loss of muscle, bone, weight gain, and a number of health issues. Strength training reverses all of these trends. Specifically, postmenopausal women can gain muscle, strengthen bones, lose fat, and increase metabolism (fighting against weight gain) with strength training (Leite et al., 2010; Watson et al., 2017).

Weight lifting is also shown to combat all of the health concerns, leading to healthier levels of blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and insulin resistance. As a whole, strength training can help women reduce their risk of developing heart disease.

Hot flashes

Hot flashes are known for causing lost sleep, nausea, headaches, anxiety, headaches and weakness (Berin et al., 2019). Frequency varies, but some women can have them as often as every hour!

While this is not a commonly known benefit, strength training can actually reduce hot flash episodes (Berin et al., 2019). One study showed that twice-weekly strength training led to a 44% decrease in hot flashes! Strength training raises endorphin levels, which might fight against some of the internal changes that occur before a hot flash.

We know strength training is important, but nutrition is also a huge piece of your wellbeing. If you'd like help  learning how to implement these new habits, schedule a Nutrition Intro session today! Email [email protected]com to get started.

Other Ways to Maintain Post-Menopausal Health

Exercise is most effective for post-menopausal fitness when combined with dietary changes. Specifically, exercise and diet changes combined can maximize fat loss, maintaining or building muscle, and enhancing measures of health (Deibert et al., 2007; Foster-Schubert et al., 2012; Smith et al., 2016). Specifically, two approaches are especially helpful.

Calorie Deficit

Reducing calories is an effective way to lose fat and maintain a healthy level of body fat and inflammation (Foster-Schubert et al., 2012; Van Gemert et al., 2016). When combined with exercise, calorie control is an effective way to specifically reduce midsection body fat, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, and blood pressure (Deibert et al., 2007).

In research, a few strategies were effective for reducing calorie intake. Among the effective strategies were working with nutrition coaches, tracking their own behaviors (food journaling, etc.), learning strategies for changing behavior, using meal replacement supplements in place of two meals per day, receiving social support and accountability from others, and documenting weekly weigh-ins (Deibert et al., 2007; Foster-Schubert et al., 2012; Van Gemert et al., 2016).

High Protein Diet

Calorie restriction that includes a low daily intake of protein led to a large amount of muscle loss (Smith et al., 2016). Eating a “high-protein diet” while restricting calories can greatly reduce the amount of muscle lost during weight loss (Smith et al., 2016). A desirable protein intake for maintaining muscle during weight loss or weight maintenance is around 0.7-1.0 grams/lb of body weight per day.

For example, if you weigh 200 lbs and your goal is to maintain that weight, you should consume 140-200 grams of protein per day.

Other Ways to Maintain Post-Menopausal Health

If no intentional actions are taken, women might gain weight, lose muscle, and experience a big decline in health during menopause. Thankfully, a few actions can help women stay in shape during and after menopause.

Strength training helps women maintain muscle, avoid weight gain, and reduce the frequency of hot flashes. Eating in a calorie deficit, using strategies such as working with a coach and using a food journal, can lead to fat loss or maintain your desired weight. Combining exercise and calorie restriction can ensure great health, including maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood glucose.

Menopause can wreak havoc on a woman’s body, but that havoc is not inevitable. Strength training and calorie-reducing habits can lead to great health and fitness well beyond menopause.

  • Berin, E., Hammar, M., Lindblom, H., Lindh-Astrand, L, Ruber, M., & Spetz Holm, A.C. (2019). Resistance training for hot flushes in postmenopausal women: a randomised controlled trial. Maturitas, 126, 55-60.
  • Deibert, P., König, D., Vitolins, M. Z., Landmann, U., Frey, I., Zahradnik, H. P., & Berg, A. (2007). Effect of a weight loss intervention on anthropometric measures and metabolic risk factors in pre-versus postmenopausal women. Nutrition Journal, 6(1), 1-7.
  • Foster Schubert, K. E., Alfano, C. M., Duggan, C. R., Xiao, L., Campbell, K. L., Kong, A., … & McTiernan, A. (2012). Effect of diet and exercise, alone or combined, on weight and body composition in overweight to obese postmenopausal women. Obesity, 20(8), 1628-1638.
  • Leite, R.D., Prestes, J., Pereira, G.B., Shiguemoto, G.E., & Perez, S.E. (2010). Menopause: highlighting the effects of resistance training. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 31, 761-767.
  • Smith, G. I., Yoshino, J., Kelly, S. C., Reeds, D. N., Okunade, A., Patterson, B. W., … & Mittendorfer, B. (2016). High-protein intake during weight loss therapy eliminates the weight-loss-induced improvement in insulin action in obese postmenopausal women. Cell Reports, 17(3), 849-861.
  • Van Gemert, W. A., May, A. M., Schuit, A. J., Oosterhof, B. Y., Peeters, P. H., & Monninkhof, E. M. (2016). Effect of weight loss with or without exercise on inflammatory markers and adipokines in postmenopausal women: the SHAPE-2 trial, a randomized controlled trial. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, 25(5), 799-806.
  • Watson, S.L., Weeks, B.K., Weis, L.J., Harding, A.T., Horan, S.A., & Beck, B.R. (2017). High-intensity resistance training and impact training improves bone mineral density and physical function in postmenopausal women wiht osteopenia and osteoporosis: the LIFTMOR Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3284

Featured Trainer Kippy Benefield

Featured Trainer Kippy Benefield

Featured Trainer Kippy Benefield

Female trainer helping female member with her plank form

Born and raised Texan, Kippy Benefield is passionate about being fit and feeling good which led to her career as a Personal Trainer…

But just like our Founder, Matt Hedman, Kippy struggled with osteoarthritis in her knee. She battled constant pain and swelling, making it hard to exercise comfortably–let alone enjoy it.

She knew there had to be a better way to exercise without the constant aches and pains. After doing some research she found slow-motion strength training.

This brief and intense way of exercise changed the way she strength-trained forever.

“Slow-motion strength training has kept me safe and strengthened my quadriceps, my hamstrings, and my calves to the point where I don’t have pain or swelling anymore.”

Trainer coaching member on how to do bicep curls

Kippy also feels like this workout has helped her through a big transition in her life. “I can’t say enough about how this method has kept me feeling good and strong through menopause and now post-menopause.”

The workout alone made a profound impact on Kippy’s health and life, so she decided to become a bigger part of it.

“I saw the difference exercise has made in my life, and, as I aged, I wanted to help other people get healthier too.”

In March 2015, Kippy went through the extensive certification process and joined The Dallas team of Personal Trainers at The Perfect Workout.

She loves the personal side of training others as she gets to work closely and knows almost everything about her members.

“The relationships are priceless. The biggest reward is celebrating all the victories, big and small.”

Female trainer coaching female member on the compound row with a quote in it

Not only has Kippy experienced results herself but she’s helped many members make significant changes in their personal health and well-being.

One of Kippy’s members had hip replacement years ago and she trained at The Perfect Workout before having surgery.

After she went through Physical Therapy, she came back to train with Kippy, and they started rehabbing her. This post-surgery member could only press 20 pounds on the Leg Press when she returned, and now she is pushing 215 pounds!

Kippy’s had members who’ve had incredible strength gains, along with some results you can’t exactly see – but definitely feel.

“I have another member who reversed osteopenia by being on a once-a-week workout regimen… after having it for 10 years.”

Kippy looks forward to helping as many people as possible reach their fitness goals by educating them about our method of strength training and coaching them to succeed.

 

Kippy Benefield
Certified Personal Trainer
Colleyville, TX

If you would like to find a trainer near you, see all of our locations here. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and book your FREE Introductory Session.

Member Feature Kevin & Nancy Brown

Both Reversed Osteo Issues & Lost Weight at 62

Both Reversed Osteo Issues & Lost Weight at 62

Male ember doing ab workout using a dumbbell while Female member trains using the tricep machine

Nancy Brown was hit with a trifecta of life-bombs all at once: she had just entered menopause, was diagnosed with serious osteoporosis in her hips, osteopenia in her spine, and was grieving the loss of her mother. Things were not going well.

6 years later, Nancy and her husband Kevin are living their healthiest, most active life at 62 years old.

Here is their story…

“When I entered menopause, within two weeks, I had gained about 20 pounds. We'd been on vacation, and at the end of two weeks, I could not wear the same jeans I had started our trip with. So that was a huge wake-up call.

And I was very discouraged about my bone strength.”

Luckily, a member of her church, Charlotte, who works for The Perfect Workout, recommended she try a workout in the West Plano studio.

Nancy tried it, loved it, and had a solution to tackle her life-bombs head-on.

After a few months of training, her husband Kevin was inspired to try slow-motion strength training for himself.

“I always had a desk job. Because of that, I had a little bit of a belly pooch that was not easy to get rid of, especially as I'm getting older.

I also wanted to be able to do certain jobs and chores around the house without hurting myself.”

Just like Nancy, he joined The Perfect Workout and began working with his trainers to reach those specific goals.

Male and Female member walking into The Perfect Workout Studio

Before The Perfect Workout, Nancy was no stranger to the gym. She had worked with trainers, lifted weights, and been extremely active and athletic her entire life. Yet through all that experience, no one had told her what could get rid of the excess weight and osteo-issues.

“It's because I was not lifting heavy enough weights. I wasn’t lifting slowly or safely enough.”

Now, after years of consistent slow-motion strength training, Nancy is singing a different tune.

One of the biggest changes she’s noticed in herself as a result of her training is the absence of osteopenia and osteoporosis, which took her about two and a half years to resolve.

And to no surprise, her strength has drastically increased. “My strength is so much greater than it was even 15 years ago. I'm really strong.”

“I don’t look like I did when I first entered menopause. I feel like I look very fit, and I feel very good about myself.

…and I love the way he looks.”

Male trainer coaching male member on the leg press machine

“I've definitely toned up! My strength has really improved and I know the physical limits of my body now versus before if I would try to pick up something heavy.

I know what I can and cannot do which prevents me from hurting myself.”

In 2017 Kevin was facing osteopenia himself but after a couple of years, just like his wife, his numbers completely reversed.

“My doctor was very impressed. She said ‘I don't know what you're doing but keep doing it because your numbers are going in the right direction.’”

Both Nancy and Kevin have enjoyed the 1-on-1 training at The Perfect Workout. They feel like each trainer takes a personal interest in them and is genuinely concerned about their physical well-being.

“I have a torn ACL in my right knee, and the trainers are very aware of my form on each exercise. I feel like it's a very safe environment versus just a regular gym.” (Kevin)

One of the reasons Nancy likes The Perfect Workout so much and working 1-on-1 with trainers is because no matter how motivated you are, no matter how strong-willed you are, no matter how much you think you can push yourself… There is no way that every single time you work out you could do it with perfect form and push yourself on your own.

“The trainers are absolutely necessary. They are an integral part of the entire perfect workout. It's not perfect without the trainers.” (Nancy)

After 6 years and counting, the Browns are thriving in their 60s, getting stronger with every year, and showing all of us how beneficial a 20-minute, twice-a-week workout can truly be.

“There would be a lot of things that I would give up before I would ever give up The Perfect Workout.”

 

Kevin & Nancy Brown, 62
The Perfect Workout Members
Plano, TX

If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and Book a FREE Introductory Session.