Exercise and Menopause

by Laura Ramirez on November 2, 2011

Exercise and menopause: when your hormones begin to decline, your bones, heart and other organs no longer have the level of protection that these hormones (in particular, estrogen) provided in your youth. This is one reason it is important to exercise during the menopausal years because doing so can actually counteract hormone-related decline. Another reason is that exercising can actually relieve some of the symptoms of menopause, especially those that are most unsettling.

Finding the fun in an exercise program is essential because this helps make it a part of your routine. Changing things up with different routines is also a good idea since different types of exercise benefit different parts of the body. For instance, aerobic exercise helps strengthen the heart and its ability to recover quickly from stress (which is helpful during times of duress), while weight training increases the amount of calories you burn at rest (called your basal metabolic rate) as well as strengthening and shaping the muscles of the body.

As estrogen declines, the body’s ability to put on fat increases, which is another good reason to get in shape and create habits that maintain it. Excess flab on the thighs and stomach can affect a woman’s sense of self esteem, lower her energy levels and set her up for any number of diseases, including diseases of the mind such as depression.

Here’s what one article has to say about exercise and menopause and how the former affects the latter:

When you’re struggling with menopause symptoms such as sleep problems or mood swings, probably the last thing you want to do is get off the couch. But getting active can help alleviate the doldrums you feel today and ward off postmenopausal health risks you may face tomorrow. A balanced program including flexibility, agility, mobility, and strength training will benefit your overall health, says Steven Goldstein, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University School of Medicine and president of the board of the North American Menopause Society.

Brisk walking is one of the simplest, lowest-cost aerobic exercises for menopause that you can do . Walking at a brisk pace is a great calorie burner and may also help with mood swings, because aerobic exercise can help fight depression and anxiety — both of which are common menopause symptoms . Warm up your body with a little light activity and range of motion exercises first.

Tai chi is a popular form of martial arts developed in ancient China. It’s also a wonderful exercise for menopause. It is sometimes referred to as “meditation in motion” because it has a relaxation component (great for easing the anxiety that seems to come with menopause).


exercise and menopause

Exercise and menopause? Doing yoga or other forms of exercise is a great way to reduce symptoms and keep your body fit and strong.

Other great exercises include yoga, swimming, dance and taking up a sport such as tennis. Participating in these exercise routines can have some great hidden benefits. For instance, doing yoga has been said to increase satisfaction in the bedroom. Here’s a quote from the same article quoted previously above.

One small, preliminary study suggests that yoga can increase sexual function, especially in women 45 and older. After a 12-week regimen of an hour of yoga followed by breathing and relaxation exercises each day, about 75 percent of participants said their sex life was better.

If you take up an exercise such as yoga, be sure to start small and progress over time. It may help to start with a yoga DVD that you can use in the privacy of your home before you venture out to find a class.

What is your opinion of exercise and menopause? Do you participate in an exercise that seems to help particularly well with symptoms? If so, please share your tips below.

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