As we age, we notice a number of changes occurring in women’s bodies. Weight gain is one among them, and menopause is a major cause of this. According to various studies, women gain an average of five pounds during menopause. This blog tries to answer why it happens and how a woman can stay healthy and fit even after menopause.
How does menopause cause weight gain?
When you take a sigh of relief that you do not have to deal with the monthly cramps of menstruation anymore, menopause has different plans. It hits you not just with mood swings and hot flashes but with weight gain too. Menopause marks less production of estrogen and progesterone necessary for conception and reproduction, resulting in the end of the fertile age of a woman. Estrogen controls body weight in human beings. The reduction in its production may affect women’s metabolic rate, thus causing increased fat storage.
It’s crucial to understand that weight gain associated with menopause doesn’t occur suddenly. Weight increase is gradual, and the risk of gaining weight can also be increased by other factors. As we know menopause happens in older adults, and their age is a contributing factor to weight gain. Most adult women are physically less active after a particular age. This lack of movement can result in weight gain.
Everyone tends to lose muscle mass as we age. This lowers metabolism and leads to gaining weight. Also, as we age, the amount of energy we use declines, resulting in less weight loss without any change in our workout regime. However, in order to lose weight, we may have to increase the intensity and duration of our workouts.
What are some additional reasons for weight gain?
While menopause may be the cause of weight gain, other variables may also contribute to weight gain after a particular age. For instance, you may find it difficult to maintain weight during life transitions like children moving out of the house or a divorce, when you quit smoking, don’t get enough sleep, consume large amounts of alcohol, take certain medications like antidepressants and have relationship or job problems. Genetics can also come into play during stressful times. You may find it challenging to control your weight at menopause if your mother experiences the same issues.
So, while menopause can induce weight gain, it’s not the only factor at this time of life.
What are the complications of menopause-related weight gain?
Menopause will definitely add a few inches to your waistline. But more than the cosmetic effect of weight gain, attention should be given to its other detrimental effects on your health. It may raise your chance of depression, osteoporosis, mammary, endometrial and colon cancer, heart conditions, and type 2 diabetes and may worsen the symptoms of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes or hypothyroidism.
What steps can be taken to manage weight gain during menopause?
Weight gain doesn’t happen the next day of menopause. It happens due to several reasons, and there is no particular way to avoid this natural process. But with the help of a healthy lifestyle and under the guidance of your doctor, you can reduce the weight brought on by menopause. This entails consuming fewer calories, working out frequently, and gaining muscle. Following are some steps to reduce weight post-menopause
Advantages of aerobic activity
To reach an optimum weight level, it is advisable to increase performing aerobic activities for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes weekly. To achieve this, various ways can be tried. For example, you can try to change your routine by trying out new workout DVDs and classes, walking on a different path that is more challenging and interesting, and finding an exercise partner to help you stay motivated.
According to various studies, by the time you reach 50, your body may need 200 fewer calories per day than when you were younger. So, it is important to avoid food items that can give you extra calories, like sweetened beverages, sugary foods, and a high-cholesterol diet.
Exercise for muscle
Losing muscle mass is a major issue faced by older adults, and this can be reduced by performing strengthening exercises. Additionally, it can assist you in regaining the muscle mass that you have lost due to lack of activity. Resistance training may also help prevent osteoporosis.
Your workout can target the arms, legs, glutes, and abs, among other muscular groups. It’s crucial that you don’t overdo it to avoid injuries. Keep in mind that aerobics and strength training are two distinct exercise routines. Strength training doesn’t concentrate on working on your heart and lungs, but it does build muscle, which aids in calorie burning. So, include both these exercises in your routine.
Controlling the intake of alcohol too is important in managing weight since it may add extra calories to your body.
When to visit the doctor
Some amount of lifestyle changes before menopause can help women manage the changes they may face after it. But some experience weight issues after menopause despite making considerable lifestyle adjustments. If you are facing such problems, consult a physician to know the underlying condition. Check if you are gaining weight despite reducing your calorie intake and engaging in regular exercise. If that is the case, then it may be an indication of certain underlying health conditions.
It cannot be conclusively said that all women gain weight after menopause. Some may not. But taking control of your weight can be quite beneficial. Start altering the lifestyle even before entering into menopause and make them a habit. You’ll probably see a difference once you start working out more and eating better.