Menopause Master - exercise
The menopause journey results in a number of changes in women’s bodies. One of the major concerns we regularly get asked about is weight management, and the fact that exercise strategies that have worked in the past are no longer giving the same results.
Some of the key changes that occur are;
· Gradual and progressive fall in spontaneous growth hormone (hGH) SOMATOTROPIN secretion
· Decrease in testosterone
· Decreased estrogen production
· Increase body fat – mainly centrally around the middle (which isn’t great for our heart health)
· Increase in LDL cholesterol
· Decrease in bone mineral density
· Sleep disturbance
· Reduced immune system
· Depression and anxiety can also be linked to hormone changes during this time
hGH comes from the pituitary gland and is the hormone of youthfulness – it plays a pivotal role in FAT METABOLISM, growth of tissues, energy level, repair, healing, bone strength, brain function (the meno brain fog, skin health etc.
It peaks during childhood, it decreases at about 12-15% per decade. Some of this decline is natural aging, but some is secondary due to lifestyle.
WE can BOOST our hGH levels with different lifestyle choices and exercise
Optimizing hGH secretion (what we know from the research) - 3-5 x per week, short sessions (10mins above lactate threshold (hot, sweaty, puffing) total workout time 20-30mins) shown to be most effective in reducing weight in post-menopausal women.
HOT and Sweaty - hormone secretion much better if body is hot
Puffed – decreased levels of O2 triggers growth hormone release.
Feel the muscle burn = reaching lactate threshold = increases metabolism and increases hGH release.
GRIT/TABATA style workouts the most effective as supported by research
Or you could try and do fast walk for 30 steps then slow walk for 30 – interval training (remember short session 30 mins with 10 mins of puffing to be effective)
Sleep - hGH levels surge one hour after the onset of sleep - hence for weight loss a good night’s sleep is important. 7-8 hours is the aim.
Elevated cortisol levels (OUR STRESS HORMONE) has a negative IMPACT on production of hGH = so link in the meditation/ yoga – go do something that makes you happy.
Dehydration has been shown to decrease exercise induced hGH response – so drink water (1.5-2 L of fluid in 24hrs unless exercising)
High carbohydrate diets switch off hGH production. However protein 25grams consumed immediately post ex, (1 boiled egg = 7 grams, protein shake) has been shown to enhance hGH.
Weight training in menopausal women is also important = INCREASED MUSCLE MASS = INCREASED METABOLISM = DECREASED CORTISOL AND WEIGHT/ ALSO SHOWN TO NATURALLY INCREASE TESTOSTERONE. Which in turn Increases bone density and Increases hGH (and on a side has been shown to increase sex drive).
Increase the amount of overall movement in your day (move more sit less)
Do some form of muscle development exercise x 3 per week - hGH boosting, metabolic firing - remember short, hot, puffing 20-30mins sessions are most effective.
Try and make 1 of those sessions where you are working to lactate threshold for 10-15 mins.
Remember for bone health there needs to be load or impact – cycling, swimming etc don’t cut it.
Flexibility/Balance session (yoga/taichi) x 1-2 per week. Promote parasympathetic system (calm the cortisol), improve flexibility, practice balance to reduce falls.]