How menopause affects athletes: During menopause there are a number of hormonal changes that can affect performance. Find out what they are and how to mitigate them.
Menopause is a process of important physiological changes that affects athletes and that can condition their performance, as long as habits are not optimized. It is convenient to propose a series of changes both in the diet and in the distribution of training loads, in order to achieve better results in the medium term.
How menopause affects athletes: The first thing to keep in mind is that menopause does not occur in all women at the same age. There are various genetic and environmental factors that can determine the development of this stage sooner or later. Now, we must be prepared for the moment in which the period disappears, since there are several alterations that will occur in the body.
Menopause can cause a change in body composition
How menopause affects athletes: After menopause, athletes experience variations in the levels of hormonal production. This can cause endogenous protein synthesis to be reduced, which affects the quality of lean tissue and also daily energy expenditure. Due to this , the accumulation of adipose tissue could be increased , which negatively affects sports performance. This is evidenced by this research published in JCI Insight.
To reduce the impact of this phenomenon, it is convenient to emphasize the consumption of proteins of high biological value in the diet, thus covering the daily requirements . Strength work will also be decisive. In this way, muscular adaptations will be promoted, which will prevent the catabolism of lean tissue and the affectation of the basal metabolic rate.
Bone loss during menopause
How menopause affects athletes: Another problem of the menopausal period has to do with the loss of bone mass density . This situation can lead to a pathology known as osteoporosis , due to which the risk of bone fracture will increase through any impact. To avoid this, it is recommended to maintain an optimal calcium intake throughout the fertile life.
Moreover, not only the consumption of said mineral matters. Keeping vitamin D levels in optimal ranges will also make a difference. This micronutrient determines the absorption of calcium and its fixation in the bones, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers of Hormone Research . For this, there is nothing better than exposing yourself to sunlight frequently.
Tips to avoid performance disturbances
How menopause affects athletes: We have already commented that guaranteeing a good protein intake and prioritizing strength work will be key to limiting the impact of menopause on athletes . Now, there are some other dietary strategies that can help. Intermittent fasting is one of them, since through mechanisms such as caloric restriction and autophagy, unwanted fat mass gain can be avoided.
Likewise, there is the option of including certain supplements in the guideline that improve sports performance, thus cushioning the alterations generated by hormonal changes. Among all of them, creatine should be highlighted, as it is the one with the most scientific evidence. It not only manages to increase the maximum strength values, but also acts on recovery.
How menopause affects athletes: On the other hand, recuperators or protein shakes can help reduce that state of fatigue typical of the first stages of menopause, especially after practicing intense physical activity. It will be decisive to sleep well to prevent muscle damage from accumulating. For this, it can be very helpful to incorporate melatonin exogenously.
Menopause affects the performance of athletes
As we have mentioned, menopause manages to affect the performance and well-being of athletes, especially due to the changes that occur at the hormonal level . Although the risk of injury is accentuated from this period, a series of strategies can be taken to improve performance at a sporting level. The best thing in these cases is to have the help of a nutrition specialist.
How menopause affects athletes: To finish, remember that the key will always be to take care of life habits, as in almost any situation. Not only is it enough to optimize the diet or the training schedule, but it will be essential to ensure regular exposure to sunlight and a good night’s rest. At least 7 hours of good quality sleep will help emphasize recovery processes , allowing physiological adaptations to take place efficiently.