The Fitness Zone
As Personal Trainers, we know that an effective training regime can assist us through different stages of life, says Kate Kraschnefski, Training Team Captain from the Australian Institute of Fitness Queensland. Here we look at training women after menopause.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is the cessation of menstruation, which naturally occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 50. Menopause commences when women’s egg reserves decline and their ovaries gradually make less estrogen.
The process of menopause can take several years until the ovaries stop releasing eggs, during which time women can experience uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flushes, insomnia, mood swings and muscle aches. Once the process of menopause has passed, the symptoms ease, but there are a number of health risk associated with the loss of estrogen.
The following health risks have been identified in post-menopausal women:
· Osteoporosis, or brittle bones
· Cardiovascular disease
· Weight gain
The great news is that regular, effective exercise has been shown to reduce these risks in post-menopausal women.
Personal Trainers should advise their clients to participate in regular aerobic exercise and strength training. Women should aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week such as brisk walking, jogging or cycling.
If your client still has good bone density it is better to incorporate impact and weight bearing exercise in their cardio training as this will help maintain healthy bone reserves and joint integrity.
A full body, moderate intensity strength training program done 2-3 times a week will also positively influence bone and heart health. Focus on big, compound moves such as squats, lat pulldowns, overhead press and bench press for maximum effect. Strength training will also help maintain muscle mass, which declines as women age, thus assisting in healthy weight management.
A training regime encompassing these recommendations will greatly assist your post-menopausal client to maintain optimal health and all-round wellbeing. As always, screen your clients appropriately and seek medical clearance if need be.
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