Pick (heavy) Things Up. Put Them Down.

Pick (heavy) Things Up. Put Them Down.

Perimenopause, the transitional period before menopause, brings numerous changes to a woman's body, including hormonal shifts that can affect muscle mass and bone density. Incorporating weight lifting into your fitness routine during this phase can offer significant benefits, from improved physical strength to enhanced mental well-being. 

Is it hot in here, or am I in perimenopause?

Perimenopause typically begins in a woman's 40s (boo, hiss) but can start earlier or later.  This period is marked by fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone, leading to symptoms such as:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles - longer or shorter cycles, lighter or heavier bleeding
  • Hot flashes and night sweats - have your favorite A DOMANI at the ready
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Fatigue and sleep disturbances
  • Decreased bone density
  • Loss of muscle mass and strength

In the famous words of Cher Horowitz, 

Weight Lifting in Perimenopause

1. Preserves Muscle Mass and Strength

As estrogen levels decline, women tend to lose muscle mass and strength. Weight lifting stimulates muscle growth and maintenance, helping to preserve lean body mass and maintain functional strength.

2. Supports Bone Health

Estrogen plays a crucial role in bone density. With its decline during perimenopause, the risk of osteoporosis increases. Weight-bearing exercises like weight lifting promote bone growth and strength, reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

3. Boosts Metabolism

Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest compared to fat tissue. By building and maintaining muscle through weight lifting, you can enhance your metabolism, aiding in weight management and combating the tendency to gain weight during perimenopause.

4. Enhances Mood and Mental Health

Exercise, including weight lifting, stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Regular physical activity can help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and mood swings often experienced during perimenopause.

5. Improves Sleep Quality

Many women experience sleep disturbances during perimenopause. Regular exercise, including weight lifting, can promote better sleep patterns and help reduce insomnia.

Where do I start?

Slow and Steady

If you're new to weight lifting, start with light weights and focus on proper form. Gradually increase the weight and intensity as you become more comfortable and confident.

Focus on Major Muscle Groups

Incorporate exercises that target all major muscle groups, including the legs, back, chest, arms, and core. Compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses are effective for building overall strength.

Incorporate Resistance Bands and Body Weight Exercises

In addition to free weights, use resistance bands and body weight exercises to add variety and challenge to your routine.

Allow for Rest and Recovery

Muscles need time to recover and grow stronger. Ensure you have rest days between weight lifting sessions and listen to your body to avoid overtraining and injury.

Obviously check with your doc about any new fitness program if you have any contraindications. 

Sample Weight Lifting Routine for Beginners

Warm-Up (5-10 minutes)
  • Light cardio (walking, jogging, or cycling)
  • Dynamic stretches (leg swings, arm circles)
Workout (2-3 sets of 8-12 reps each)
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench Press
  • Bent Over Rows
  • Shoulder Press
  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Dips
Cool Down (5-10 minutes)
  • Static stretching
  • 360/Diaphragmatic Breathing

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