Keep your muscles from turning to mush - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Keep your muscles from turning to mush

Do you ever feel you're on a treadmill to nowhere when it comes to losing weight? It's especially true for women who watch the scale getting harder and harder to maintain as they age. But a few simple changes to the weight loss strategy can 'lift' those unwanted pounds for good.

Like so many women Natalie Kearns-Whaley says for years, "I thought cardio, that was it for me, that's all I needed."

And for years, cardio can be a woman's best friend, but as the years pile on, YMCA Fitness Instructor Beth Mans says the stories sound all the same from her female clients: "I just can't lose weight like I used to. What's changed? Why is it so tough?"

Gynecologist and author of "The Venus Week," Dr. Rebecca Booth knows those complaints well, having heard them routinely from patients.

The little pooch is not imagined," Booth said. "It really does start coming and it can be a big pooch if the woman doesn't start paying attention to it early."

She says the "pooch" is the product of hormonal decline, starting at age 27, picking up speed at 35, then going into free fall at 42. And when you consider the hormones at stake, there's sense behind the science.

"Testosterone helps build muscle mass in women, estrogen helps support collagen," Booth explains."

"Studies show we will lose between one-third and one-half pound of muscle mass every year after the age of 35," Mans said. "So a lot of women, they think cardio, cardio, cardio," when their bodies are actually crying out for exercise that builds back muscle.

Amy Palmisano leads a total-body conditioning classes at LAC. It's designed to build lean muscle. Palmisano tells her female fitness clients, "when we talk about getting into your clothes, fitting into them properly, strength training is the best way to get that extra bulge off the tummy, to narrow your hips down, to drop down to that next size."

And, Booth says, when you add in the fact that "muscles do help raise metabolism," it starts making even more sense. Women can start burning more calories simply by adding more muscle - the muscle they're losing without the strength training.

Wenger says she added weights to her workout routine and finally dropped those five pesky pounds that had been hanging around her mid-section for years.

"Women have an uphill battle, they literally have to increase their strategy how to maintain their waistline and their muscle mass" said Booth. "But they can win it!"

In Booth's book, "The Venus Week," she also explains that with the drop in metabolism as women age comes the increase in insulin resistance. It causes a slow-down in metabolizing processed carbs and that she says, puts fat right in the belly. So along with a change in fitness strategy, women need to consider a diet strategy as well.

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