One of the challenges for women during and after menopause is loss of muscle mass and the associated metabolic changes that can lead to weight gain. You can motivate female clients to value training during the perimenopausal years—beginning as early as 40 and continuing for about 4–8 years—for the dividends it pays in stoking metabolism. The good news: A large study of 234 middle-aged women shows an association between staying physically active during the menopausal transition and losing less of one’s lean body mass.

“We already knew that estrogen has a role in the regulation of muscle properties,” said Hanna-Kaarina Juppi, lead study author and a doctoral student at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. “By following the hormonal status, measuring many aspects of muscles and by taking into consideration the simultaneous chronological aging of women going through the menopausal transition, we were able to show that the decrease of muscle mass takes place already in early postmenopause.”

The study is available in the Journal of Clinical Medicine (2020; 9 [5], 1588).