The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in postmenopausal women is a growing concern, characterised by a cluster of conditions like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. These factors elevate the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. A recent study published in 2023, titled “Effect of resistance training and high-intensity interval training on metabolic parameters and serum level of Sirtuin1 in postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome: a randomised controlled trial“, sheds light on the effectiveness of resistance training (RT) and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in managing these risks.
The study involved 45 postmenopausal women aged 45-65 years, all suffering from MetS. They were divided into two intervention groups (RT and HIIT) and a control group. The RT group engaged in resistance training for both upper and lower body, while the HIIT group performed high-intensity training followed by moderate walking. These sessions were conducted three times a week for eight weeks.
The results were significant:
- Both RT and HIIT groups showed a decrease in weight, waist circumference, body mass index, fat mass, low-density lipoprotein, triglyceride, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and hemoglobin A1c.
- Systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, HbA1C, and fasting blood sugar decreased more in the HIIT group.
- Skeletal muscle mass and 1-repetition maximum increased more in the RT group.
- An increase in serum levels of Sirtuin1 (SIRT1), a key metabolic regulator, was observed in both groups.
Implications for Fitness Professionals
For fitness professionals working with postmenopausal women, this study underscores the importance of incorporating both RT and HIIT into training programmes. RT is crucial for increasing muscle mass and strength, while HIIT effectively reduces cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors.
Example of a Periodised Programme
Based on the study’s findings, a periodised programme for a postmenopausal woman could be structured as follows:
Weeks 1-4: Foundation Phase
- Focus on low to moderate intensity RT, targeting major muscle groups.
- Include basic HIIT sessions, starting with shorter high-intensity intervals followed by longer recovery periods.
Weeks 5-8: Progression Phase
- Gradually increase the intensity of RT, incorporating more compound movements.
- Intensify HIIT sessions by increasing the duration of high-intensity intervals and reducing recovery time.
Weeks 9-12: Peak Phase
- Introduce more challenging RT exercises with higher weights.
- Maximise HIIT intensity, focusing on shorter, more intense intervals with minimal rest.
Maintenance and Recovery
- Post 12 weeks, focus on maintaining gains with a balanced mix of RT and HIIT.
- Include active recovery and flexibility exercises to prevent injury and aid muscle recovery.
The study provides compelling evidence for the benefits of RT and HIIT in managing MetS in postmenopausal women. Fitness professionals should consider these findings when designing training programmes for this demographic, ensuring a balanced approach that addresses both strength and cardiovascular health.
- Shamlou Kazemi, S., Heidarianpour, A., & Shokri, E. (2023). Effect of resistance training and high-intensity interval training on metabolic parameters and serum level of Sirtuin1 in postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome: a randomised controlled trial. Lipids in Health and Disease. Click here to review the full research article.
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