You’ve probably heard this more than once: Working out will make you feel good. Besides the physical and psychological benefits of exercise, the rush of feel-good chemicals you’ll get are an added bonus. This can be especially important for women going through menopause. Their bodies are experiencing a number of changes that may be uncomfortable and even painful.
Exercise can help you through this phase of life and leave you feeling better than ever. So, whether you’re an aspiring runner, yogi, or salsa dancer (or anything in between), here are some reasons why menopause is the best time for you get moving like you’ve never moved before.
5 major perks of exercise for menopausal women
1. Weight management
You might’ve realized around your late 20s that your rapid-speed metabolism was slowing down, and you had to cut back on ordering “fries with that” with every meal. Hormonal changes during menopause can sometimes mean it’s easier to gain weight. Exercise will not only help stave off weight gain, but will also help you make up for the loss of muscle mass that’s common in women experiencing menopause. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week for healthy women to help maintain a healthy weight. If you want to lose weight, aim for at least 20 minutes of exercise per day.
2. Bone health
Although both men and women should be concerned about maintaining strong bones as they age, women are at higher risk for osteoporosis. The good news is that working out can help build and maintain bone density. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises for those at risk for or diagnosed with osteoporosis.
3. Heart health
A dip in estrogen levels is common at the onset of menopause. This can increase bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol levels. It can also put women at increased risk for cardiac health issues. Keeping in mind that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States every year. This means menopause could arguably be one of the most important periods to stay in shape.
4. Symptom relief
Another study found that regular exercise could prevent postmenopausal symptoms significantly. So maybe you can even replace your hormone replacement therapy medications with a more natural alternative.
5. Self-esteem boost
Every woman experiences menopause differently, and not every woman feels her best during this time. And that’s OK. But if you’re feeling blue, you’ll be happy to know that exercise can be the pick-me-up you need to help you feel good about yourself. One study found that over time, physical activity was associated with higher levels of self-worth and menopause-related quality of life.
Now that you know how great exercise can be during menopause, it’s time put a plan into action. Wondering about what specific exercises you can do to start experiencing benefits? Start with these tips:
Exercise 20 to 60 minutes per day, three to five days a week. You can try:
- jogging, running, or speed-walking
Do this 20 to 60 minutes a day, two to three days a week. You can try:
- lifting weights
- using elastic bands
- using weight machines
- doing push-ups or planks
Yoga and meditation
Yoga and deep breathing techniques can help provide pain relief and calm your mind. You can do this daily or a few times a week. Try these poses:
- Reclining Hero pose
- Head-to-knee pose
- Reclining Bound Angle pose
- Child’s pose
Before beginning any new exercise regimen, it’s always best to consult your doctor.
Menopause can sometimes be a challenging time as you learn to adjust to your body’s many changes. At times, it may feel like your body is working against you, but you can take back control. Regular exercise can be as simple as walking through the park or as ambitious as training for a marathon.
Whatever works for you, remember that moving can contribute to your physical and mental health. Everything takes a little effort to begin, but it’s never too late to take care of yourself.
Let us know what forms of exercise make you feel your best.