Physical Activity Related to Changes in Body Size and Composition in Menopause

by: Dr. Mary Claire Haver

The fact that most women gain weight in midlife is probably no surprise to you.

In fact, I’d bet you’ve gained at least a couple extra pounds in your midsection over the past couple of years if you are entering or experiencing menopause. Why is that? Why is this such a common phenomenon?

  1. Loss of muscle tissue with age dramatically alters our resting metabolism, and we burn less calories at rest than before. This loss is called sarcopenia – and to battle it, we must make sure that we are doing resistance/muscle strengthening exercises regularly and getting enough quality protein in our diet. As we age, we also don’t burn as many calories as we did with the same exercise as we were younger – the aging process makes us less efficient.
  2. The decrease of estrogen seems to play a big factor in this mysterious weight gain. In animal studies, estrogen appears to help control body weight. With lower estrogen levels, lab animals tend to eat more and be less physically active. Reduced estrogen may also lower metabolic rate, the rate at which the body converts stored energy into working energy. Lack of estrogen may also cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively, which would increase fat storage and make it harder to lose weight.
  3. The general stress of aging parents, raising children, and caring for others (while usually while neglecting our own self-care – the irony.). Then, pile on top the stress of 2020 – there is not ONE person that is not chronically stressed right now!

Surely there has to be a solution…
The “menopause middle” does NOT have to be your inevitable reality any longer!!
The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) found that women with increased physical activity are… 

  1. Leaner – increased skeletal muscle mass and decreased fat mass
  2. Weigh less on average.
  3. Have less “central adiposity” (abdominal/belly fat) even after going through menopause and midlife changes compared to those with little or no physical activity
Blast Away Belly Fat!
Get your Belly Fat Blast guide, complete with guidelines, scientific evidence, checklists, and trackers, sent directly to your inbox!

Let this be your wake up call – physical activity is absolutely essential for healthy aging and weight maintenance. If you are just getting started, no worries. I developed the Galveston Diet MOVE mini-course to aide with your fitness efforts. (Gain access by joining our online program here.) All workouts can be done from the comfort of your own home and require little to no equipment. Light dumbbells and bands are encouraged but not required by any means. This mini-course will educate you on the importance of physical activity, especially for women, as they enter and experience midlife and menopause. It will also provide you with a layout of the Galveston Diet HIIT exercises and an opportunity to create your own if you so desire. There are video demos and instructions of me doing each exercise.

Article references:

If you are interested in learning more about the science behind The Galveston Diet, Click Here.

Related Posts:

The Galveston Diet can help women in menopause feel more confident in their skin.

This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency room immediately.

The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other institution with which the authors are affiliated.

While the information on the site was prepared to provide accurate information regarding topics related to general and specific health issues, the information contained in the site is made available with the express understanding that neither Dr. Mary Claire Haver,, nor the other experts on the site, nor the site itself, nor members of the Site are dispensing medical advice and do not intend any of this information to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.


Don't miss a thing from
The 'Pause Blog

Get the latest news from Dr. haver delivered to your inbox.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
By signing up, I agree to the Terms & to receive emails from The Galveston Diet.

This website uses cookies to ensure you receive the best experience.