26 Feb Benefits of Lifting Heavy During Menopause
Women often shy away from lifting heavy for the fear of getting too bulky when in fact lifting heavy can make you stronger and leaner without adding size. For this to happen, use a weight that you can only lift for 5 or fewer repetitions. Lifting heavy for higher repetitions can increase muscle size, which is also a nice thing 💪. I like to mix in both formats to give my body variety. So once per week, I will lift very heavy with a weight that keeps me under 6 repetitions and the rest of the week, I keep my other workouts at a higher repetition range (8-12). It is important to note that if you chose to go very heavy, you have to ensure to give your body adequate time to rest. My recommendation is not to exceed one very heavy lifting session per week. Without proper rest, you are putting yourself in danger for injury.
A few other reasons you should be lifting heavy:
1️⃣ Increases in Growth Hormone (GH)
GH is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland and one of its most important functions is stimulating the breakdown of fat, as well as protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Overall, it is a key player in developing lean muscle mass and burning fat. GH naturally declines with age.
2️⃣ It helps increase your resting metabolic rate
Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the energy (calories) required to keep your body functioning at rest. It declines as a part of the normal aging process. By taking steps to increase your RMR, you are making your body burn more calories in a resting state. This is a good thing! Resistance training, especially heavy resistance training, has been shown to increase RMR.
3️⃣ Increases testosterone
Testosterone is the main anabolic hormone involved in skeletal muscle growth and declines steadily with age. The decline in testosterone is strongly associated with a decline in muscle mass and strength. This is especially important for women because the decline in estrogen is linked to a more rapid decline in muscle mass. Levels in women in their 40s are about half of those in women in their 20s and there is a 60% reduction within 2-5 years of menopause. The combination of declines in testosterone, estrogen, and GH is known to contribute to increased abdominal visceral fat, which is another reason to get some heavy lifting in!
4️⃣ Because it feels sooooo good!!
Stay curious, unafraid, and armed with knowledge!
– Dr. Maria Luque