Why exercise is important for the menopause
Menopause can be a difficult time for many women. It can be hard to feel your best with symptoms like hot flushes, anxiety, sleep problems and weight gain. Although exercise may feel like the last thing that you want to do when you are struggling with menopause symptoms, it can help to counteract some of the specific changes that are going on in your body.
Benefits of physical activity on the menopause
Control weight gain
Regular exercise can help increase muscle mass and lower fat, which can sometimes increase around the menopause.
Boost your health
Lower estrogen levels after menopause increase your risk for some diseases, including heart disease, osteoporosis and stroke. Exercise can lower your risk.
Sleep disruptions are common around menopause, but exercise can help you avoid them. Just be sure your workout isn’t too close to bedtime.
Improve your mood
Physical activity can reduce your risk for depression and anxiety. Exercise also promotes endorphins, the feel-good hormones, helping to alleviate mood changes.
Protect your bones
Regular exercise can maintain and strengthen your bones, which can help prevent osteoporosis, and also help alleviate some of those joint aches.
Exercises that can help
You should aim to exercise your heart (cardio), strengthen your muscles (weight training), and stretch for flexibility.
It is recommended that healthy women take part in 150 minutes moderate intensity exercise per week. This should include a mix of cardiovascular exercise with at least two strength-building sessions, such as weightlifting. So, this could be 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week.
Find out more about how specific types of exercise can help during the menopause.
Participating in cardiovascular exercise will help to boost your heart health after the menopause. Cardio exercise can help control blood pressure, reduce blood sugar levels and help you maintain a healthy weight — all of which are vital in staving off many potential health issues. Plus, cardio is a fantastic natural mood booster too!
Cardiovascular exercise includes an activity that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for a prolonged period. Types of cardio workouts include:
- brisk walking
- cross training
Not only does weightlifting challenge your muscles helping you to maintain muscle mass, it also helps to increase bone density. Weightlifting also can increase lean muscle mass, which in turn helps increase your metabolism so you burn more calories at rest.
Proper form is crucial when lifting weights, especially as you age. Our qualified Health and Fitness Coaches are always on hand to provide advice and support on how to use the gym equipment correctly.
Balance and Mobility
It’s really important to maintain your balance as you get older. This is because it can reduce your risk of falls, and even increase your chance of living longer. Balance and mobility can sometimes decline during the menopause because of a loss of muscle mass.
Another advantage of doing these types of exercises is that they usually involve a mind-body aspect. This means that they can reduce your stress levels and may improve some symptoms of the menopause.
Stretching for just 10 minutes a day can help elevate the symptoms of menopause. A great way to incorporate stretching into your routine is through calming classes, like yoga and Pilates. Practicing yoga helps to control breathing, which can also help to lower stress and manage feelings of anxiety.
Some of our centres offer Pilates and Yoga classes, visit our Timetables page to see what workout classes we have running.
Menopause can be a challenging time, and sometimes it may feel like your body is working against you. But it is important to know that you can take back control! Daily exercise can be as simple as a 30-minute walk on your lunch break, a workout class or a gym session.
Whatever exercise you choose to do, remember that getting active really can contribute to your physical and mental health. It may feel difficult to begin with, but it is never too late to start making time for yourself and investing in your wellbeing.
If you’d like to take that first step in keeping active, speak to a member of our team on your next visit, or check out our memberships page to see what suits you and JOIN TODAY