Why Women Need Muscle! 

Research shows that those in late perimenopause (so still having periods) had 10% less muscle mass compared to early perimenopause, and post-menopausal women were also more likely to have sarcopenia (involuntary muscle loss). 

Lifting weights and focusing on building muscle used to be a male-dominated area of the gym. Women would tend to be encouraged to do cardio and the weights area in the gyms could be intimidating to walk into. 

Thankfully, this is changing as we realise the importance of muscle to our overall health and longevity. Women of all ages are starting to realise the benefits of lifting weights – and it does not need to be super heavy to have benefits. It is about stimulating the muscle and lifting a weight that you are comfortable with. We do not all need to lift huge weights. 

For those in early perimenopause, which generally means women in the early to mid–40s, it is vitally important that we start to incorporate weights into our training, as this will have a massive impact on how we go through menopause.

For those of us in post-menopause, it is never too late to start to train. I have female clients who started training in their 70s. They find that getting stronger enables them to feel more confident, maintain their independence, have greater balance, and have the positive mental benefit that they can tackle anything they set their mind to. 

Greater muscle mass can also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and improve metabolic health and body composition. There is also evidence that links strength training with a reduced risk of heart disease or stroke. This is a risk that increases in post-menopause, as estrogen helps to protect against heart disease. 

We do not need to hit the gym every day, but aiming for strength training twice a week and ensuring we eat plenty of protein at every meal will all go towards being fit and strong to live our lives. 

Ann de Jongh is a health and wellbeing coach.

+351 913 202 621



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