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Uncategorized Jun 24, 2020

This is one for the ladies (or the men that wish to understand the wonderful women in their lives a little better). Menopause. Some of you may be there and others may have this time ahead of you. 

Just because it has ‘pause’ in the name does not mean you have to physically pause areas of your life - particularly exercise. 

Menopause is defined as the cessation of menstruation for 12months. Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop making the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The average age of menopause onset is approximately 51 years old but some women may enter menopause as early as 30 or as late as their 60s. Every women’s experience is unique but some common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, insomnia, headache, lethargy/fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, feelings of a racing heart, weight gain, joint pain and decreased strength of connective tissue. The risk of diseases including heart disease and osteoporosis also increase after menopause. Sounds awesome - am I right ladies? What a party to look forward to. 

This blog is not all doom and gloom, however. There is some good news. Exercise is important for women at every stage of their lives and is arguably even more so when undergoing menopause as it can: 

  • Improve/maintain cardiovascular fitness
  • Preserve and improve muscle mass and bone density 
  • Assist in weight control and metabolism 
  • Decrease risk of associated conditions such as heart disease and osteoporosis 
  • Improve reaction time and balance 
  • Assist psychological health and self-esteem 

A lot of the symptoms associated with menopause can also be managed with regular exercise. 

 

So what exercises are best? 

The first point I want to make is do exercises that you ENJOY. Your compliance and motivation are going to be much lower if you’re dragging yourself to do something that you dislike. 

But. There are some exercises that are definitely beneficial to include during menopause. If you’ve read these blogs before, I’ll give you one guess what I’m going to say... 

Yep. Strength training. That old chestnut. 

Weight-bearing training is SO beneficial to bone health and prevention of osteoporosis (as well as combining with all the other benefits of regular exercise that were chatted about above). 

Other considerations when training during and after menopause include: 

  • Time of day - Avoiding the hottest part of the day or exercising in a hot environment may be a good idea if experiencing hot flushes. 
  • Nutrition - Maintaining a balanced diet, cessation of smoking, and management of vitamin D and calcium levels will also assist with management of menopause symptoms. 

I hope this information has been useful in motivating you to keep up your efforts exercising or maybe it has helped you decide to start exercising. Either way, a pause in one area of your life should not put a pause on your exercise.

Fiona

Physiotherapist at Be Mobile

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