Are you in the perimenopause years and have started to notice that your muscles are much sorer than usual after heavy exercise? I started noticing this myself in the last 4-5 years as I headed into my late 40s. It wasn't until recently that I learned why this is.
The transition to menopause comes with many changes and with those changes comes a diminished ability to recover from your exercise sessions. The harder you exercise, the worse this can be.
"At midlife (over 40) women really need to be exercising in a way that supports muscle growth and builds bone mass".
When we exercise, our body is stimulated to grow new muscle tissue and become stronger, but it takes rest and recovery after exercise to make this happen. Due to the hormone changes at perimenopause, women may notice that their recovery is slower and their adaptation to training is diminished. What this looks like in real terms is a lot more soreness after hard sessions, less muscle growth and often losses in the muscle mass you worked so hard to gain.
So what should you do when you love training and don’t want to stop? Stopping is definitely not an option. At midlife (over 40) women really need to be exercising in a way that supports muscle growth and builds bone mass. Keeping on going the way we did in the past is what needs to change. This is the time when nutrition becomes even more important. As women lose estrogen and the stimulus for muscle growth, they must eat smarter and train smarter to get the same result as in the past.
"Do you make time for more restorative pursuits such as mobility work and/or yoga"?
Protein is your friend and you need it in each meal and snack throughout the day. What you want is a constant supply of amino acids (proteins) to reduce the likelihood of muscle breakdown. High intensity and long duration exercise increase protein needs for building new muscle and avoiding pesky muscle breakdown.
Training changes are necessary, especially if you are training hard on numerous occasions across a week. How hard are you training? Are you getting enough sleep? Is every session a hard session? Do you make time for more restorative pursuits such as mobility work and/or yoga?
Perimenopause brings about big changes for the female body and we have to respond to those changes otherwise we risk burning ourselves out, increasing our risk of injury and even gaining weight!
Need more help with understanding how to work with your body at midlife? Send me a message. I created my Thriving Menopause Toolkit for this very reason. To help women just like you to look and perform at your best as you head into some of the best years of your life.