Midlife Weight Gain | Muscle Building, Stress & Weight Gain

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Whether you are in your 30's, 40's, 50's or 60's you need to be aware of what is happening in your body through the aging process and why gaining weight becomes easier and losing weight becomes harder. 

You might be at a preventative stage where you are working hard to stabilize your weight or at a stage where you are trying to shed a few extra kilo's; regardless it is important to know what starts to happen in our bodies as we age and what we can do to address/manage these issues. We know that weight is a complex area of health, influenced by many factors. Diet and physical activity can play their part, but when it comes to midlife weight gain, there are some other pieces of the puzzle that need to be taken into account.

Stress... we can't manage it without actively trying too!

Simply put there is a huge a correlation between stress and weight gain. If you don't have a mental health self care routine put in place I urge you to sit down and think of methods you can use to de-stress. High cortisol levels in response to surges of adrenalin (the fight or flight hormone) which is a common place in todays fast paced society lead to weight gain around the waist.  A client last week told me that her WHS manager is so happy that she is attending Reformer Pilates as it is helping her with her stress levels at work. Movement help with stress relief. Plain and simple. The reason I have set up a space that is calming is because I understand how amazing it can feel to step into a place that soothes the soul, focus on YOUR BODY AND YOUR MIND for 45 mins and leave feeling more accomplished this will have a HUGE IMPACT on reducing your cortisol levels.  

What is your stress less self care routine?

  1. Move in some form each day - Walking outdoors, unlimited reformer pilates classes available at $66 per week with stretch and breath classes available
  2. Practice Gratitude at the dinner table (what went well today?)
  3. Stretch at home before bed
  4. Meditation or nostril breathing (ask me about nostril breathing at your next class) 
  5. Have a bath (minus the wine)
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Try and reduce your cortisol levels! They won't just reduce themselves it is up to you to actively try and de-stress!

For women... Why you need to be aware

For many women, the menopause years are often met with physical, emotional and mental changes. And often, just as you are navigating the tricky symptoms of hot flushes, night sweats or increased anxiety levels, you are greeted by another unwelcome visitor: weight gain.

The fat stored in the abdominal region is also known as 'visceral fat'. Compared to the other type of fat (subcutaneous fat), you cannot pinch visceral fat with your fingers or grab it with your hand. Visceral fat lies out of reach, deeper in your body, wrapping around vital organs such as your liver, gut and pancreas.Visceral fat is favoured in midlife weight gain and unfortunately, it's a key player in a variety of health issues. An excess of visceral fat is linked to an increased risk of heart disease (the number-one killer of women in Australia), type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and dementia.

Estrogen staying healthy & weight management

Of all the hormones in your body, estrogen just might have the worst rep: you probably associate it with the bloating, fatigue and headaches. Increasingly, researchers are linking excess body fat to excess estrogen levels: they find that the more body fat you have, the more estrogen you produce. Studies also show that high levels of estrogen are connected to health conditions such as obesity, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, for active women, keeping estrogen at the right levels — not too high and not too low — can make the difference between looking fit and looking flabby.

Reformer Pilates | Building muscle and managing weight gain

Maintaining an active lifestyle and coming to reformer Pilates can help balance your estrogen levels. As we age our muscles atrophy (muscle fiber size decrease) and reformer Pilates assist to increase your muscle fiber size. Research shows that high intensity, short duration resistance training is the best method to assist with balancing estrogen levels. This in turn helps  to regulate your estrogen levels by increasing lean muscle mass, which increases metabolism, which then helps to burn more fat and reduce fat mass. In turn, this reduces the amount of aromatase — the result of fewer fat cells. So more testosterone is available and less estrogen is produced. Since testosterone also helps you build lean muscle mass and reduce fat mass, the results of exercise are further improved.

Also, since fat cells naturally produce harmful estrogen, anything that keeps you lean will help balance estrogen levels. 

Reformer Pilates is a low impact method to build muscle, increase flexiblity and and manage current aches and pains. At any.BODY Pilates you will work with an Exercise Physiologist that understands issues surrounded with midlife weight gain and managing current injuries.