Menopause really does make you age faster. But there is one exercise in particular that will significantly help reverse this aging.
One study showed that the cellular aging is sped up by an average of 6 percent.
The research by Horvath et al, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Biological Psychiatry (7/25/16) says that “menopause makes you age faster.”
Thus, if a woman seems to be feeling older soon after completing menopause or during this natural process, it may not necessarily be all in her mind.
“Of course we associate this process with aging because it typically occurs at age 51,” says Karen Patrusky, a board certified OBGYN and F.A.C.O.G. in private practice for 20+ years.
But don’t despair if you’re on the cusp of menopause, going through this change or have recently completed it.
There is one single exercise — no jarring or impact, no embarassing positions, no tricky balance moves — that will make you feel youthful and strong.
“Exercise practices should include a regimen that focuses on a combination of endurance, strength, flexibility and balance,” says Dr. Patrusky.
“Strength training and weight bearing exercise are essential for bone health by impeding loss and helping to build new and more durable bone in order to reduce brittle changes such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.”
When a woman steps into a gym for the first time, she might become overwhelmed by all of the equipment and not know where to start.
One Exercise: Biggest Bang for the Buck
As a former personal trainer, I would never tell a client to do only one exercise.
But…if you were limited to doing just one single exercise to combat the blues and associated aging of menopause, that exercise should be the deadlift.
It actually should be called the “lifelift” because it brings life back into a depressed “old” body.
It gets its name from the movement: You simply pick a dead weight off the floor.
This all-body exercise — which engages the entire body — will certainly set back the hands of time.
The following muscles get worked all in a single movement: legs, butt, entire back, arms and abs.
It will make you stronger, move more efficiently, increase bone density and joint strength, make your core stronger and slash body fat.
Not to mention the significant psychological effect: What menopausal woman could possibly “feel old” when she knows she can effortlessly pick heavy things up off the floor?
And carry them around? And set them on ledges or lift them into cars? The deadlift will give you strength you never knew you could achieve.
If you’re strong, you will not feel old from menopause.
But there’s a catch: You must work out intensely, with the objective of using heavier and heavier weight over a period of time. And with excellent form.
Form should be perfected first before you go for challenging weight loads.
You can begin with a 20 pound barbell, and work your way up to heavier weight.
Your gym may have pre-fixed barbells, such as the ones shown below.
You can also do deadlifts in the gym’s barbell squat area, using a 45 pound Olympic bar that you can add plates to.
Fat Burning and Strength
For maximal fat burning, the protocol is an eight to 12 repetition maximum — meaning, you can do at least eight reps, but more than 12 is nearly impossible.
Rest 60 to 75 seconds in between these sets. Do six sets.
For an emphasis more on strength (though you’ll still burn fat), do a three to five rep max with two to four minutes of rest in between sets.
For either protocal, employ progressive resistance. This means make an effort to increase the weight load over time so that you get stronger and stronger.
And NO, you will NOT bulk up.
“Women are busy and often can’t find the time to include all of the different types of exercise activities into a regimen,” says Dr. Patrusky.
This is where the deadlift comes in if you feel very short on time.
“In addition, remaining flexible to maintain range of motion and balance training are important,” continues Dr. Patrusky.
“Cardio, or aerobic exercise, helps with metabolic control and is heart healthy.”
Other valuable strength training exercises include squats, the leg press, pressing barbells or dumbbells away from your chest or over your head, and pulling motions.
Because the deadlift is a giant of an exercise, it should be the first exercise performed during your workout session.
Don’t let menopause make you feel old and defeated. A woman is never too old to learn this multi-joint movement.
Dr. Patrusky is the developer of Voila Intimate Mood Oil, a 100% organic, non-hormonal lubricant made from coconut oil infused with the purest natural herbal oils. All five formulas are vegan, cruelty-free and U.S. produced.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.