I currently train several women who are going through menopause or have already gone through menopause, and they are struggling with their weight. I was hoping you could shed some light on what happens physiologically during menopause and how that relates to women trying to lose weight during or after. Does it become more difficult to lose weight during or after menopause?
Menopause has been defined as the complete cessation of ovarian function. Prior to the onset of menopause, pre menopausal women can undergo many symptoms including hot flashes, mood swings, irregular periods, weight gain, especially in the abdominal region among many others. Also, there are several health issues associated with menopause including loss of bone mass (osteoporosis) and cardiovascular disease ( due specially to weight gain).
Exercise can certainly alleviate some of these symptoms as well as to slow down and/or prevent some of the health issues mentioned above. Exercise can improve body composition which in turn may guard against CAD.
Weight loss may seem more difficult at the onset of menopause (but not impossible) since each female may react differently to the many symptoms and side effects. Depression is a big part of it and many may overeat or indulge in empathy calories that in the long run will add a few extra pounds. Also, many may gain weight at the onset of hormone therapy.
Nonetheless, the same guidelines apply for exercise prescription as stated by ACSM. Please, refer to the following resources:
- American Menopause Foundation: firstname.lastname@example.org
- North America menopause Society: www.menopause.org
- National Women's Health Resource: www.healthwomen.org
- IDEA Article: IDEA Source ( February 2001), p.52: Working out through menopause: Karen Bram