Menopause; the big M; the ‘change of life’; whatever you choose to call it, it’s a physical reality and a growing concern for women aged over 40.
No matter who you are or what stage of your life you’re at, it’s important to know about menopause. No matter what, someday it’s going to affect you, your partner, someone in your family or a female friend – directly or indirectly – for up to a decade. That’s right, a whole decade.
Some people believe that menopause is limited to hot flushes and emotional changes, but that is where you’re oh so wrong. We’ll get to that later I want to bring your spirits up a little before I get into it. I promise it’s not all bad and I’m here again to tell you exactly how you can manage the pesky symptoms and baggage that come along with going through menopause.
Let’s face it, menopause can be an extremely tough time for Australian women. Your body changes in ways you’d never expect. You may have trouble sleeping, feel more stressed and anxious and it can affect your overall confidence but (because there is always a but) here I am to talk about how exercise can help you on your merry way through these years of your life.
“Exercise is a menopausal woman’s best friend”
It allows you to control your body and emotions using your own internal resources. Regular exercise is proven to help reduce many of the symptoms experienced: it can help regulate weight, strengthen bone and muscle, reduce the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes and reduce depression. With so many benefits, it’d be crazy not to get out there and see how you feel. I get it, sometimes during menopause physical activity can be the very last thing you feel like doing, but committing to physical activity is very important for your health and well being, not to mention it can be so much fun!
Besides subsiding the symptoms present while going through menopause, there are also other benefits of getting out there and keeping fit. The main one being associated with a 12 letter word that we are all probably aware of: osteoporosis. Basically, this is a condition caused by the loss of body density, as bones get less dense they get more fragile, and fragility can lead to fractures and breaks. Women’s bone density peaks in their 20’s, so fast forward to their mid-40’s (and the onset of menopause) and bone density is on the decline. This bone mass however is maintained through a calcium rich diet and participating in vigorous weight-bearing exercise.
Exercise during menopause is great, however, due to the fluctuating hormone levels it is important to take into consideration how you’re feeling, as well as assessing your energy levels. Your training should include a balance of cardiovascular, strength, stretching and relaxation exercises. Walking, yoga, resistance training and even dancing are excellent options. You want to avoid skipping, jumping and sudden movements and remember that you will need more time in between sessions to recover!
By engaging in physical activity it will allow you to embrace your energy, creativity, attention span and mental focus you need to enjoy what matters most – friends, family, fun and a healthy attitude and lifestyle for many years to come!
Huffington Post Australia. (2017). Everything You Need To Know About Menopause. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/05/07/everything-you-need-to-know-about-menopause_a_21880194/
Grindler, N. and Santoro, N. (2015). Menopause and exercise. Menopause, 22(12), pp.1351-1358.
Menopause. (2012). Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, 19(12), pp.1409-1415.
Lucas, R. (2016). Is exercise an effective therapy for menopause and hot flashes?. Menopause, 23(7), pp.701-703.
Womhealth.org.au. (2017). About menopause fact sheet | Women’s Health Queensland Wide. Available at: https://womhealth.org.au/conditions-and-treatments/about-menopause-fact-sheet