Exercise is important at every stage of life, but it may look a little different during the perimenopause and menopause years. With certain risk factors, physical limitations, and cognitive needs to account for, accepting guidance is a great idea. Plus, modifying your fitness focus can help you get the most out of exercise so you can continue to thrive.
Can Exercise Reverse the Signs and Symptoms of Menopause?
No. There’s no sugarcoating it. The body changes with age, and there’s no magic ‘fix’ to reverse course. On the contrary, learning to live with the signs and symptoms of menopause can help deepen your emotional resolve and create a relationship with your body that includes acceptance – which is phenomenal for your emotional and mental wellbeing.
With that said, it is true that regular exercise may help you maintain a healthy weight, relieve stress, and improve sleep quality – all of which can enhance your quality of life during perimenopause and after. When you actively help yourself stay fit, you tend to be in a better position to weather the storm of menopause, both physically and emotionally.
It’s also important to note here that some research does suggest a link between obesity (BMI over 30) and hot flashes. However, this isn’t agreed upon by all physicians, and more research is needed before establishing a stronger association between the two.
How Does Fitness Help with Menopause?
If it won’t take away the hot flashes, then what’s the point? Before you throw in the towel on staying active in your golden years, you’ve got to consider all the advantages of staying fit during this chapter of life. Here are some excellent benefits of exercising during menopause and beyond.
- Prevent weight gain. Menopause often causes women to lose muscle mass and gain abdominal fat. Exercising regularly can help counter those effects.
- Keep your bones strong. Fractures and osteoporosis – these are things you want to try and avoid at this stage of the game!
- Reduce the risk of disease. Keeping excess weight off may also help prevent breast, colon and endometrial cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes.
- Get a mood boost. Stay sharp and engaged! Research suggests that exercise can slow the rate of cognitive decline in aging populations. Exercise can also be a source of socializing for mature women who have fewer relationships to maintain after retirement.
What Type of Workouts Are Best During Menopause?
A balanced fitness regimen is ideal, so be sure your routine includes aerobics and strength training. Balance exercises are also great for avoiding trips and falls, which can have serious consequences post-menopause.
Don’t be afraid to slow down, either. It’s okay to hang up your boxing gloves and pick up a hobby with less risk of injury – but just as much competition – like pickleball. With that said, if you can continue doing your favorite activities confidently and without serious risk, go right ahead!
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends strength training twice a week, combined with at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Remember, those are weekly goals! You don’t have to do them all at once. In fact, staggering your workouts throughout the week can help you create a functional schedule with adequate recovery time. Be sure to include light stretching and balance drills as well to stay flexible and fit.
If you are also struggling with weight issues related to perimenopause, I’ve put together a program just for you! Check out my Menopause Weight Control Plan and feel confident and secure in your health and wellness!