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Women over 50 build muscle

Empowering Change: Building Muscle During Menopause

Mar 20, 2024

What's your workout like? Are you consistent every week with strength training? The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice a week.  You don’t have to spend hours at the gym. Two or three 20-minute sessions a week is really all you need to see and feel benefits. Start where you’re at and perfect your form before moving to heavier resistance. Consistency and progression is key! 

Why strength training?

  1. Build muscles mass- As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass. Staying consistent with a sound core program can actually reverse muscle loss. Sarcopenia, the accelerated loss of muscles mass and function that is associated with increased adverse outcomes including falls, functional decline, frailty and mortality. We can actually reverse muscle loss through strength and balance training and aerobic exercise.
  2. Increase bone density- Osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormone changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. This can't necessarily be reversed by exercise but we can definitely slow the progression of Osteoporosis. Plus, strength training will help to keep the body strong and help with balance and mobility.
  3. Decrease risk for Type 2 Diabetes. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, building more muscle mass can help manage your symptoms. When you exercise your muscles need more energy (glucose). Larger muscles require more glucose as well. Both the act of lifting weights and the effects of strength training help improve blood sugar management. 
  4. Heart Health- Studies show that consistent strength training lowers blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol and improves blood circulation.
  5. Improve body composition- The same reason building muscle makes you look better in your jeans helps with the four positive effects listed above, plus more.You are helping to strengthen all the systems of your body. Weight loss alone doesn't change your body mass. Losing fat mass and building muscle mass should be the goal for both cosmetic and health benefits.


How to Build Muscle for Women Over 50

Keep it Simple to Start

Strength training doesn't have to be complicated. If you don't have a gym membership or fancy equipment, most exercises can be performed with your own body weight. Incorporating a pulling and pushing exercise along with a couple lower body exercises like split squats, hip bridges and squats can give you great benefit. I recommend investing in a few dumbbells, resistance bands or tubes and a door anchor for your bands and tubes. I use SPRI to order products for clients. You can shop directly with them. 

How Does it Feel?

Pay attention to how an exercise feels and what muscles you should be using. Learn proper form first before adding more weight or resistance. Work with a qualified trainer if you’re not sure what to do and what form to use. Investing in learning will payoff with better results and less risk of injury throughout your life.

How Much is Enough?

Basic Strength Training should be done 2-3 times a week with a day of rest in between to allow muscle fibers to repair, which is when the muscle building occurs. Start with 2 sets of 8-15 repetitions. Build up to 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions. You are looking to fatigue around 10-12 repetitions. This is a great place to start. after a few weeks and as you start to lift heavier, switch to two days a week. As you progress and you are able to lift a heavier load you’ll want to give your body more rest in between your heavy strength training days. If time allows, you can add a day or two of functional training or Pilates in as well.

A Holistic Approach to Building Muscle

Muscle is not built during the exercise process, instead the muscle fibers are being broken down microscopically. It is during the rest and recovery phase along with adequate protein, hydration and rest that the muscle fibers build. Consuming enough protein is critical to build muscle. Protein is made up of amino acids that act as building blocks for cells and tissues in the body. There are 20 amino acids that combine to form proteins. While some can be synthesized by the human body, others cannot. The nine amino acids that the body cannot make are called essential amino acids. These must be obtained through diet. The RDA suggests women obtain 46 grams of protein a day. Although this may be adequate for sedentary women to maintain basic functions of the body, it may not be enough for building muscle. You are Bio-individual and your needs will be different than anyone else. Getting a balanced diet from whole foods is a safe way to be sure you are getting the nutrients you need. I aim for 20-30 grams of protein at each meal. We can’t forget about other nutrients that are important as well such as fiber and quality fats. 

In conclusion, building muscle is an important part of aging well and maintaining health and independence. It is never too late to start. Along with lifting heavy weights, your strength training routine should include enough quality sleep, hydration and nutrition. Are you ready to cultivate a mind and body transformation? Book your complimentary coaching call here. We’ll go over your goals and what has worked for you in the past and what obstacles have gotten in the way. I’ll fill you in on the details of my coaching programs so you can decide if I’m the right coach for you and which program best fits your needs.

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