Menopause can be a tough period for many women. With all the hot flushes, night sweats, sleep problems and mood swings, it can be difficult to find the energy and mood to exercise. Yet, it is during this period of time that exercise is especially helpful.
A woman’s metabolism tends to slow down during menopause. Because of this she’ll notice that she’s gaining weight too. So, not only is it a depressing time for women but when they start putting on the pounds it might leave them demoralized.
Many women end up letting themselves go and slip down a spiral of uncontrolled weight gain. Exercise will arrest this problem.
There are many benefits of exercising during menopause. Some of theese benefits are:
- Reduces menopausal symptoms
- Improves your balance and strength as you age
- Prevents osteoporosis
- Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, etc.
- Prevents/controls weight gain
As you can see, many of these problems often arise as women age and regular exercise will put you in much better stead when it comes to avoiding all these health issues.
It can be tough to exercise during menopause because your joints and muscles may ache too. Many women report that their shoulders and neck often hurt during menopause and their hips, knees and ankles may ache too.
The best person to speak to regarding these problems will be your doctor. He/she may be able to prescribe you some pain relief medication.
During menopause, you may wish to do activities that don’t aggravate your pain. Walking is a great exercise. So, is yoga and Pilates. You do not need to engage in high impact exercise. Swimming is fantastic too because it is both cardio and resistance training in nature and it’s low impact.
Exercise early in the day and by nightfall, you’ll be exhausted and sleep better. This will prevent headaches caused by sleep deprivation which is pretty common during menopause.
If you experience hot flushes, you may wish to join a gym with an air conditioned environment to work out in. Stay hydrated with lots of water and wear clothing that slightly loose so that your body can cool off. After exercising, you can have a cold shower.
It’s also important to watch your calorie intake. As we age, our basal metabolic rate (BMR) decreases and your body needs less calories. Most people fail to realize this and carry on eating the same amounts that they’re accustomed to and end up gaining weight because the excess calories are shuttled off into their fat stores. You need to eat less to prevent this from happening.
A lower BMR arises when there is a loss of muscle mass in the body. With age comes a gradual loss of muscle mass. This is known as sarcopenia and affects all adults even those who are active. When you have less muscle in your body, your BMR will drop and you’ll burn less calories.
The best way to retard this process is to engage in strength training. This will force your body to retain muscle to handle the demands placed upon it. It’s especially important for women to focus on strength training as they age because they have less lean muscle than men.
Once you get past menopause, things will get much easier. What’s important is that you stay active and do your best to exercise and stay fit during this trying period. This is one of the most defining moments in a woman’s life. If you let yourself go, you may end severely overweight and plagued with health problems.
You must have consistency with your exercise and healthy eating habits. Then and only then will you stay fit and healthy all the way through your golden years.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn