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Stay Active During Perimenopause

New research shows connection between exercising more and retaining muscle mass.

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Exercise during perimenopause

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).

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Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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