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The Anti-Aging Benefits of Resistance Training for Midlife Women

Updated: Mar 20

Aging can bring with it unique physical challenges. After the age of 30, muscle mass decreases by about 3-8% per decade. Bone density also tends to decline, increasing your risk of osteoporosis. During the first five years after menopause alone, you can lose up to 10% of your bone mass.

Hormonal changes, especially related to menopause, can cause estrogen and other hormones to decline, too. These fluctuations can affect your mood and energy levels, plus losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can get more difficult.

Resistance training is a key tool to age powerfully and counterbalance these effects. I look at strength training as the fountain of youth, due to its remarkable ability to rejuvenate and maintain physical and mental well-being.  

7 Anti-Aging Benefits of Resistance Training 

1. Muscle Maintenance and Growth 

Think of your muscles as the strong framework that holds up your body. Over time, this framework can weaken if you're not exercising. The result is reduced muscle tone, weaker muscles, and a less firm appearance. Everyday activities like carrying groceries or climbing stairs can become more difficult. 

Resistance training is your secret weapon against the muscle loss that often comes with aging. This type of exercise supports muscle growth, repair, and maintenance.

Regular strength training lengthens your ability to perform daily tasks that can be more challenging with passing decades. Lifting kids, carrying heavy bags, or maintaining good posture are easier things to do—and for longer. It might not be top of mind right now, but this strength preserves your quality of life so you can remain independent and active as you age.  

2. Hormone Balance 

As you age, insulin and other hormones are more likely to become imbalanced, increasing your risk of insulin resistance.

Growth hormone, sometimes called your fountain-of-youth hormone, plays a pivotal role in muscle growth and repair. So does testosterone, supporting fat metabolism and overall vitality as well. Regularly engaging in strength training optimizes the release of growth hormone and boosts testosterone production.

Resistance training also has a positive impact on insulin and cortisol, two hormones with significant implications for the aging process. This form of exercise enhances insulin sensitivity, making it easier for your body to process glucose more efficiently and reducing the risk of age-related metabolic conditions like type 2 diabetes.

Cortisol, your body's primary stress hormone, can accelerate the aging process when it stays elevated. Resistance training helps lower cortisol levels and mitigates the adverse effects of chronic stress. Studies show that regular exercise protects against the negative emotional feelings associated with stress.

3. Fat Loss 

Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even when you're not actively exercising. When you incorporate strength training into your routine, you not only build and maintain lean muscle mass but also significantly increase your resting metabolic rate, or the amount of calories you burn by just existing. 

Strength training helps you become a more efficient fat burner by shifting the balance in favor of muscle over fat, improving your body composition. In fact, one study discovered that women who devoted more time and effort to strength training experienced lower body fat levels and higher fat-free mass (basically everything but muscle weight).

4. Bone Health 

Resistance exercises stimulate the activation of bone-building cells, making your bones denser and stronger. Strengthening your bone structure increases stability and lowers the risk of fractures and injuries, leading to a more confident and injury-free daily life.  

Research suggests that consistent resistance training can reduce several risk factors for osteoporosis, including improved strength, balance, and muscle mass. 

Complete Bone Support is a powerhouse formula that combines calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins D and K, and genistein (a non-soy isoflavone) to help maintain healthy bone mineral density.*

5. Joint Health 

Joints play a crucial role in enabling the smooth movement of your body. However, as you age, the natural wear and tear of joints can lead to discomfort and reduced mobility. This decline often stems from muscle loss and weakening, which results in inadequate joint support. 

Resistance exercise plays a key role in building muscle strength and strengthening the ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues that provide crucial stability to your joints. The results? Your everyday activities become more manageable. You gain greater freedom of movement, enhanced joint function, and a decreased likelihood of experiencing discomfort or injuries.  

6. Brain Health 

Resistance training has the potential to help reduce age-related cognitive decline and the risk of conditions like dementia. Strength training can also improve mental well-being, thanks to optimizing neurochemicals like endorphins. Exercise activates these feel-good substances, which alleviate stress, elevate mood, and support a positive mental outlook.

7. Gut Health 

Your gut microbiome, composed of trillions of microorganisms residing in the digestive tract, plays a pivotal role in overall health. Regularly engaging in strength training favorably shifts the composition and diversity of your gut microbiota, promoting a balanced and diverse gut ecosystem.

A well-balanced and diverse gut microbiome has wide-ranging anti-aging benefits, such as promoting healthier skin, bolstering the immune system, and supporting mental acuity and overall brain health.

Make Strength Training Your Constant Companion 

Regular strength training is a powerful anti-aging tool that goes beyond physical strength. It enhances resilience in both body and mind, providing physical and mental strength to confront the challenges of aging. Strength training's real power lies in nurturing resilience that fosters confidence, determination, and discipline that extends beyond the gym.  

I recommend that every woman embrace resistance exercise as a lifelong companion. Resistance training helps you age powerfully, approaching each new stage of life with confidence and vitality. 

In my six week FASTer Way program we focus on simple and effective short (30 minute) strength training workouts 3 to 4 times each week. These can be modified for beginners and are challenging enough for those who have been strength training a while.


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