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Can Exercise Help Me Through Menopause?

May 10th 2022

For the sake of our weight, physical health and emotional wellbeing, regular exercise really could help our journey through the menopause with fewer and less significant symptoms. And all it takes is as little as 20 minutes a day!

Absolutely!

Going through the menopause can indeed be a very challenging time for many women, both physically and emotionally. Symptoms can be both debilitating and life changing and cause significant issues on a personal and professional level if the right support and interventions are not made available. Help and support is out there and thankfully it is becoming more readily available and spoken about.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to help manage symptoms is available on prescription and on consultatation with a GP or Menopause Specialist it can be effectively prescribed to women at all stages of menopause including those in perimenopause who still have periods. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is also available to help deal with the emotional symptoms associated with menopause and many women have found it helpful in combating mood swings, anxiety and depression.

Make Exercise Your Friend!

However, as either an alternative to the above or to compliment the above you can also take action to positively influence your menopause symptoms by committing to regular and focused exercise.

Exercise helps to keep us fit and healthy and increases our lean muscle mass. But exercise also has benefits when it comes to bone strength, heart health and emotional wellbeing, all of which can be especially important during the menopause.

Exercise & Weight Management!

Even if you’ve managed to stay in good shape all your life, going through the menopause can mean that you find it harder to maintain your ideal weight, meaning that you need to work harder to stay in the healthy zone.

This is because a drop in oestrogen levels can lead to a decreased metabolic rate. A decreased metabolic rate leads to weight gain, and in turn less confidence and mobility, both of which can mean we exercise less, only adding to the issue of weight gain.

Keeping up with regular exercise, a mix of strength training, cardio training and stretching exercises such as yoga will only enhance your ability to maintain a healthy weight. The benefits of which are not only physical but also highly emotional too in terms of instilling confidence, self worth and happiness.

Exercise & Bone Strength

The menopause can lead to problems with bone strength in older women, leaving some women more at risk of mobility and stability problems and also brittle bones and osteoporosis.

Regular strength training will help to strengthen your muscles and improve bone density. Stronger muscles lead to stronger ligaments (that attach bones to bones) and tendons (that attach muscles to bones) promoting pain free joint health. This in turn means that your whole skeletal system becomes stronger, helping to reduce the risk of weak bones, compromised mobility and stability and subsequently an increased risk of falls and injury.

Exercise & Heart Health

The risk of heart disease rises for everyone as they age, but for women symptoms can become more evident post menopause.

Menopause itself does not cause cardiovascular disease, however certain lifestyle habits can put women at a significantly higher risk such as a high fat diet, smoking and indeed, lack of exercise.

Cardio exercise is essential not only for maintaining a healthy weight but also for promoting cardiovascular health. Women who include regular cardio training into their weekly exercise regime have lower blood pressure, lower blood glucose levels and healthier cholesterol levels. Cardio training can come in many different forms and is basically anything which raises your heart rate and leaves you feeling out of breath. For some it could be a brisk walk, while for others it may be a run, a swim, a dance class or playing a team sport. It’s also important to note that high impact cardio training such as running and jumping should be avoided for anyone for whom osteoporosis is present or high risk.

Exercise & Mood

There is little doubt that exercise makes us feel good emotionally. Perhaps not always whilst we’re doing it but certainly afterwards we often feel like we’re on top of the world! This is due to a surge in feel good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine that begin to drop naturally, along with oestrogen, during the menopause.

So when it comes to choosing exercise to enhance our mental wellbeing, really tune into yourself and what you enjoy. If you love being outdoors find an activity you can do outside. If you are competitive perhaps sign up to an adult netball club or similar. If you prefer to exercise from the comfort of your own home with workouts delivered straight to your phone then maybe Euphoria Boost is for you!!

And remember …

For the sake of our weight, physical health and emotional wellbeing, regular exercise really could help our journey through the menopause with fewer and less significant symptoms. And all it takes is as little as 20 minutes a day!