Every year, over 80% of women going through perimenopause or menopause will experience symptoms that cause physical, emotional, and mental imbalances. Menopause can disrupt life, and most of it is not in our control, but there are lifestyle changes and actions that women can take to help reduce the severity of many common side effects. Exercise can play a key role in managing hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping. Are you ready to get started?
Importance of Fitness During Menopause
During menopause, a woman’s ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone. This significant drop in hormones creates chaos in the body, causing a broad range of challenges:
- Weight gain – Both age and the loss of estrogen cause our metabolism to slow, making it more difficult to keep the pounds off.
- Bone density – estrogen plays a crucial role in bone formation and resorption. The loss of estrogen places women at risk for osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become brittle and fragile, increasing the risk of fracture.
- Muscle mass – The decline in estrogen levels can cause a decrease in lean body mass, which includes muscle tissue. As muscle mass decreases, there is often an increase in body fat.
- Mood swings – Estrogen affects the levels and activity of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine. The loss of estrogen can disrupt this balance.
Including exercise as part of a daily routine can counteract some of the symptoms of menopause by increasing metabolism, burning calories, and generating endorphins and serotonin for mood and brain health. Weight-bearing exercises strengthen bones to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Abdominal work builds stronger core muscles to help support the spine.
The best part about exercise is that it is not limited to one specific type of workout. Whether your preference is hitting it hard in the gym or going for a brisk walk through the park, exercise in any form is beneficial.
Starting a New Workout Routine
If you are kicking off a fitness routine for the first time, there are many ways to go about it. Hop on a bicycle with your favorite friend and go for a ride. Take an aerobics class at the local gym. Or learn meditation on YouTube and then take a much-needed brain break outside.
When it comes to staying fit during menopause, adopting a well-rounded approach catering to physical and mental health is crucial. Here are some essential fitness tips to help establish a good workout routine:
Strength Training: Strength training counters the loss of muscle mass during menopause. Include workouts like weightlifting, resistance band exercises, or bodyweight exercises. Aim for at least two strength-training sessions per week.
Cardiovascular: Cardiovascular exercise includes brisk walking, running, cycling, or swimming. Try for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardiovascular exercise 2-3 times per week to burn calories and promote heart health.
Balance and Flexibility Exercises: Yoga or Tai Chi can improve posture, prevent falls, and enhance overall mobility. These practices offer stress-relieving benefits, promoting mental well-being.
Stay Hydrated and Eat Well: Drink plenty of water and maintain a diet rich in protein, calcium, and vitamin D to support muscle and bone health. The Mediterranean Diet is an excellent example of how to nourish your body with foods that taste good and satisfy cravings.
Listen to your body and adjust your fitness routine accordingly. If you feel too tired or experience discomfort, take a break or modify the exercise. Remember, the goal is to stay healthy and active, not to push yourself to the point of injury.
Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
In addition to the physical benefits, regular exercise can help alleviate anxiety and depression. Activity triggers the release of endorphins, often called “feel-good” hormones, which uplift mood to create a sense of well-being.
Endorphins also play a critical role in brain health, enhancing learning and memory, improving focus and concentration, promoting sleep, decreasing stress, and balancing mood-regulating neurotransmitters.
Menopause can often feel isolating and lonely. Engaging in group activities or fitness classes is a great way to exercise while creating new friendships and enjoying a social outlet.
Staying Fit Now and in The Future
Menopause is not a stop sign but a milestone on your fitness journey. With the right fitness approach, you can manage menopausal symptoms to enhance your overall quality of life. So, lace up those trainers, unroll that yoga mat, and embark on this empowering journey to a fitter, healthier you.
At CleopatraRX, we are on a mission to prevent brain fog during menopause. Learn how you can effectively manage common symptoms of menopause while actively preventing cognitive decline. Contact us today or fill out the form to get started.