Fighting Menopause with Fitness - Ways to minimise the effects of Menopause by staying active.



Regular workouts are vital for women who are going through menopause. It's important to ensure you stay active to minimise the symptoms of menopause.


Menopause is an inevitable and necessary transition in women's lives. Use it to remind yourself that it's never too late to start taking care of yourself by investing your time into keeping yourself fit and active.


So why is adopting a healthy, active lifestyle so important when it comes to menopause and the symptoms thereof?


Exercising before, during and after going through menopause has meno benefits (see what I did there = many) but here are just a few that should be ample to get you giving exercise some serious thought.


1. Weight Management - During menopause, women tend to compromise muscle mass and retain fat, especially around the belly area. Training, especially weight bearing exercise will help prevent muscle dystrophy (loss of muscle) and coupled with high intensity interval weight training, you can keep the fat at bay the right way.


2. Alleviate the risk of Cancer - Exercise during and after menopause can prevent excess weight gain which in turn offers protection from various types of cancer, including breast, colon and endometrial cancer.


3. Increased Bone Mass Density - Due to hormonal changes during menopause, bone mass density decreases which increases the chances of fractures and the onset of osteoporosis. Studies show that doing weight bearing exercises not only helps maintain a healthy muscle mass and weight management, but also improves the density of bones and therefore exercise is crucial before, during and after menopause.


4. Reduce the risk of other health issues - There is a direct correlation between obesity and diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Weight gain caused by menopause can increase the risk of these diseases. Conversely, regular exercise will reduce the risk of these ailments.


5. Keep your brain in the game - Research shows that adults who stay active or partake in regular exercise are at lower risk of depression and cognitive decline than those who are less active or who do not exercise. Regular exercise also increases the production of testosterone and endorphins which in turn improves your mood so it's pretty much a "no-brainer".


So how does exercise help with menopause symptoms?

During menopause symptoms can include hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, fluctuating emotional state and irregular sleeping patterns to name but a few. Studies suggest that being overweight i.e having a body fat percentile of 35% or more can intensify these symptoms. Although there is no research to suggest that exercise has a direct impact on these symptoms, having a regular health regime does help you maintain a healthy weight, relieve stress and improve overall quality of sleep which in turn will make the symptoms more manageable.


What type of training is best to manage menopause and its symptoms?

As a rule of thumb, most healthy women should aim for approximately 2.5 hours a week of moderate aerobic exercise or half that if it's vigorous anaerobic (high intensity) exercise. Strength and conditioning training is a must and recommend at least 2 sessions a week dedicated to this.


Aerobic Exercise can help maintain a healthy weight, keep your heart and lungs healthy and keep your metabolism turning over. Try walking, jogging, cycling and / or swimming or aqua aerobics. Dancing or Zumba is also great aerobic exercise and studies have shown that it not only improves your cardio-vascular fitness but also improves cognitive function.


Anaerobic Exercise is defined as when activity is so intense, the body burns oxygen faster than you can breath it. When this happens, your body switches from burning blood sugar to burning fat. This is a great way to reduce your body fat and therefore reduce the symptoms of menopause. Although this type of training isn't for everyone, it's a sure way to melt fat and boost your endorphins and mood enhancing hormones. Our WARRIOR PROGRAM is a great way to achieve this without taxing your joints and muscles.


Strength and conditioning or weight bearing exercise can help reduce body fat, increase muscle strength and increase metabolism activity. Using weights will not turn you into a She-man but merely activate lean muscle mass and improve overall weight. Using resistance machines, free weights and kettlebells are great ways to increase strength. Why not check out our POWR PROGRAM


How do I start and how do I keep motivated to keep going?

Even a thousand mile journey starts with a single step in the right direction. Start small but start.... Even if you start with a 10 minute walk every day. Start somewhere and keep going, always challenging yourself a little bit more than the time before. Also remember the 21/90 rule. It takes 21 days to build a good habit and 90 days to build a lifestyle. Also, it is crucial that you set yourself realistic, achievable and definitive goals. Simply saying you want to get fitter won't get you there, but saying that you want to be able to run for 10 minutes without stopping in 4 weeks time is just one example of a realistic, achievable and definitive goal. Training with a friend, family member or neighbour will increase your chances of success by over 60% and doing group exercise classes is a great way to socialise and sweat all at the same time.


Bear in mind though that you don't need a gym to exercise. There are great apps out there that have workouts you can do at home but even things like walking, dancing and gardening can improve your health and mood. Whatever you chose, remember to keep going as consistency is key and the more you do, the less impact menopause will have on you and your day to day life.


For more information on how you can manage your symptoms with exercise and nutrition, please contact me at sheldon@sculptpersonaltrainer.com