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Why women need to include strength training as they age

There is a stereotype to strength training. Strength training has traditionally been seen as something young men do.

Rarely do we see women associated with strength training. Particularly older women. There is a lingering fallacy that women who undertake strength training will become bulky or muscle bound.

The good news is that strength training will not make you bulky. In fact, the opposite is true. Strength training will help you burn kilojoules. But the potential for weight loss is not the only benefit of strength training.

For women in the menopausal transition, the body produces less oestrogen. This has an impact on maintaining bone density. This process, known as sarcopenia, can lead to a decrease in strength and mobility, and an increased risk of falls and fractures.

The loss of bone density for women from their late 40’s onward is significant. This is one of the reasons that osteoporosis and osteopenia (the condition before osteoporosis) is much more prevalent in older women.

Strength training can help offset the effects of ageing by building bone density.

Here are some tips to make sure your strength training counts:

  • Include 2-3 sessions of strength training per week. Make sure you have 2-3 days between these sessions for rest and repair.
  • Your muscles should feel slightly sore the next day. This is all part of the strengthening process. This soreness should be gone before your next strength training session.
  • Drink plenty of water and include some protein immediately after your strength training session. This will also aid the recovery process.
  • Use the days between your strength training sessions to go for a walk or do yoga, or any other activity that keeps you active and brings you joy.
  • Your strength program needs to be adjusted every 8-10 weeks (depending on how often you do strength training). As your body gets stronger, you need to either increase the weight or change the exercise to keep your muscles and bones challenged. This will also stop you from getting bored!

In addition to the physical benefits, strength training can also provide psychological benefits such as improved self-confidence and a greater sense of control over one’s life. For these reasons, all women should include strength training as part of their regular exercise routine.

Last updated: September 28, 2022 at: 2:26 pm