Hello there, lovely ladies!
Today, we’re going to chat about the magic of fitness during menopause and how it can make this journey a whole lot smoother.
So, why is fitness so crucial during menopause, you ask? Well, the benefits are plentiful! Regular physical activity can help prevent weight gain, reduce the risk of cancer, strengthen your bones, ward off other diseases, and give your mood a much-needed boost.
Now, you might be wondering, can exercise really help with menopause symptoms like hot flashes and sleep disturbances? While it’s not a guaranteed fix, maintaining an active lifestyle can help you keep a healthy weight, manage stress, and improve your overall quality of life. And that’s a win in our books!
So, what are the best exercises to try? The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends moderate aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic activity for at least 75 minutes a week1. Plus, don’t forget to add in some strength training exercises at least twice a week. And remember, it’s not a race – feel free to spread your exercise throughout the week in a way that suits you best.
Let’s break down your exercise options:
- Aerobic Activity: This is all about increasing your heart rate and breathing rate, which in turn improves your cardiovascular health. Examples include brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, and even dancing. These activities can be modified to suit your fitness level. For instance, if you’re a beginner, you might start with a leisurely walk and gradually increase your pace over time. The key is to find an aerobic activity you enjoy, so you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
- Strength Training: This involves using resistance to build the strength, endurance, and size of your muscles. You can use weight machines, free weights like dumbbells and barbells, resistance bands, or even your own body weight (think push-ups or squats). Strength training is important for everyone, as it helps maintain muscle mass and bone density, which can decrease as we age. It also helps with everyday tasks like lifting groceries or climbing stairs.
- Stretching: Stretching exercises help to improve your flexibility and range of motion. This can make it easier for you to move around and perform physical activities. It also helps with posture and can alleviate muscle tension and stiffness. Examples of stretching exercises include yoga poses, toe touches, and lunges. It’s important to include stretching in your fitness routine, ideally after your muscles are warmed up from aerobic activity or strength training.
- Stability and Balance Exercises: These exercises help to strengthen the muscles that keep you upright, improve your coordination, and reduce your risk of falls – which is especially important as we age. Activities like yoga, tai chi, and Pilates are great for improving balance and stability. Even simple exercises like standing on one leg or heel-to-toe walking can make a big difference.
Staying motivated can be tough, we get it. But setting realistic, achievable goals can make a world of difference. Instead of promising to exercise more, why not commit to a daily 30-minute walk after dinner? And don’t forget, you can always team up with a friend or neighbor to make the process more fun.
Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Many activities, like dancing and gardening, can also contribute to your health. So find something you love, warm up, cool down, and most importantly, have fun!
1 American Heart Association. “American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids.” www.heart.org. Accessed July 14, 2023. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults