` How to beat menopausal weight gain
Health Notes
This is why the menopause is making you gain weight
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Isn’t it peachy getting old? Just when we’re done with periods and childbirth – our body decides to stick the knife in and give it one last twist. As if the hot flushes, mood swings and restless nights weren’t enough to deal with during menopause, it can also bring on unwelcome weight gain too. Terrific.

“Multiple studies have shown higher levels of total body fat, as well as abdominal fat in postmenopausal women compared to premenopausal women and men of the same age,” says Krissy Kendall, Science Editor of bodybuilding.com. This is largely because as we age, muscle mass decreases whilst fat increases so if you don’t maintain it with exercise, you’ll suffer weight gain. 

Diet is also a major factor with many women deficient in protein. “Unfortunately, most women don’t get enough in their diet,” Krissy explains. “Not only does it maintain muscle mass, but it also has a satiating effect, meaning you’re less like to snack on foods in between meals. Proteins that come from an animal source, including chicken, turkey, lean ground beef, fish, and dairy are all great sources of complete, high-quality proteins.” And if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, “soy and quinoa are two vegetarian sources of complete proteins,” says Krissy. “If you follow a plant-based diet, it’s extremely important that you match up your protein sources to make complete proteins. Examples include rice and beans or nut butter on toast – essentially you need to combine a bean or nut with a grain.”

Here are the best exercises to keep the pounds off:

1. Weights

“Weight training is probably the most important form of exercise women can do while going through menopause,” says Krissy. “Previous research has shown that older women who resistance train 3 times per week and include exercises like leg press, seated row, bench press, shoulder press, biceps curls, and triceps extension can significantly improve fat free mass and total body strength.”

2. Get the blood pumping

For best results, Krissy advises that we should aim for 8-10 exercises, repeating each set one to three times. “Stick with moderate intensity weights, aiming for 10-15 repetitions per exercise,” she says. “Body weight exercises, resistance band exercises, circuit training, free-weights and machine-based movements that target large muscle groups are best. Increasing levels of cardio can also help fight off unwanted weight gain.”

3. Just enjoy it!

Krissy recommends that we should be undertaking at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, or 20 minutes of high intensity exercise three days a week. “Swimming, walking, biking, step aerobics, and even dancing are all great options,” she says.

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