Exercise and Menopause

Article by
Alannah Dawson.

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and manage weight, both of which can help with symptoms of the menopause.

The most important thing is to keep moving!

The most important thing is to keep moving!

Why bother with fitness during menopause?

Whether you've exercised religiously for years or you haven't been active, physical activity during and after menopause has many health benefits. There is no evidence that regular exercise reduces menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes or period flow, but what it can do is alleviate stress and reduce or manage weight. Reduction in stress levels has a range of positive impacts and certainly leads to an improvement in the quality of life during this transitional phase. Losing or maintaining our weight makes us feel good about ourselves.

What are the benefits of exercise during menopause?

Regular physical activity can:

What sort of exercises should I do?

There are three types of exercise that can help us through this transitional phase of our lives:

Cardio exercises - typically these are exercises that use a lot of muscles and raise our heart rate. The main cardio exercises would be swimming, jogging or cycling. Other options include dancing and aerobics classes.

Strengthening exercises - for the reasons outlined above, building up our bones during the menopause is extremely important. Osteoporosis is a real danger and weight/resistance exercises can help us build up our muscles and bones. It is also worth considering taking supplements to complement your strength and conditioning programme.

Relaxation and meditation - different relaxation techniques work for different people. Yoga, feldenkrais and stretching exercises are three options, but it might also be simply doing some deep breathing exercises a couple of times per day. As individuals we have to find what works for us, but all of the above can help with stress, irratibility, fatigue and hot flushes.

Some tips

Interesting articles:

Jenni Murray, one of Britain's most popular journalists and broadcasters, addresses the the issue of weight and cancer. She suffered from breast cancer and in this article (Daily Mail, December 2011) questions the role that her weight played in her illness.

 

Dr Josh Axe's video on mistakes people commonly make at the gym is worth a watch - the main message I got from it is that it's all about weight bearing exercise and targetted exercise like Pilates and Ballet Barre.

In the Huffington Pos,t Alexis Abramson gives us The 'Skinny' on Menopause and Exercise.

Good Article on the benefits of walking - Polly Vernon in The Irish Independent, November 2015.

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