(Maureen Halushak/ Chatelaine) — “If there’s any time in your life when you should exercise, it’s during menopause,” says Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, a Toronto-based online health coach who specializes in training midlife women. More specifically, she’s referring to functional strength training—exercises that will help you do real-life stuff better, whether it’s hoisting your luggage into the overhead bin or lowering yourself into a pool.
All adults start losing muscle mass around the age of 30, but the hormonal ebbs and flows of menopause accelerate this loss. The less muscle we have, the fewer calories we burn, which contributes to another effect of menopause: weight gain.
While strength training can lead to weight loss, that’s not the ultimate goal. “The focus is on managing stress, moving better, sleeping better and feeling more confident,” says Montpetit-Huynh. She recommends three 30-minute full-body strength workouts—using heavy weights—a week, with one to two full days of rest between each. “When you prioritize rest and recovery, you really gain,” she says. “I only go into the gym three days a week now, and I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.” Here are four functional exercises she recommends to all of her midlife clients. (…)