WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
As a woman approaching the peri-menopausal phase of life, I am very interested how my muscle mass, physical fitness and energy levels will be affected as my hormone levels begin to shift.
I recently gained a ‘Third Age’ Women certification with Jenny Burrell Education, which looked at diet and exercise from peri to post menopause and talked especially about a little known period of life known as the somatopause.
Somatopause is defined as the gradual fall in the growth hormone HGH which occurs with increasing age. This has massive knock on effects and one of the most challenging (or annoying 😉) is a decrease in muscle mass and bone density which can obviously hugely affect our current fitness goals and motivations!
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Luckily there’s an increasing body of information widely available out there and LOTS of studies have been done in this area. It seems that by changing up your exercise routine slightly you may actually stimulate an increase in the HGH production which will in turn aid in the building of muscle mass even in someone where the natural decline has begun.
The “Move it or Lose it” adage definitely becomes louder and clearer with research to back it up so there’s unfortunately no hiding from it.*
HOW DO WE DO IT?
The buzz word at the moment in the fitness world is high intensity interval training (HIIT). Although I’d always advise caution to anyone considering ramping up their workouts — no matter what age, the attraction of this kind of workout is that it’s much less of a time commitment but promises to deliver the same or better health and fitness outcomes.
SO, perhaps consider adding a HIIT session once or twice a week for the sake of those muscle building benefits.
DON’T STOP DOING THE OTHER WORKOUTS YOU ENJOY
HIIT Training certainly purports some fantastic health benefits, but longer and less intense workouts will be what gives you a good dose of “endorphins” and “dopamine”. These will boost your mood and really help to maintain good mental health.
“It ain’t about the ass; it’s about the brain“, Lena Dunham