Managing Menopause with Exercise
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Menopause can be a challenging time in a woman’s life. Hormonal changes that occur during menopause can cause symptoms such as hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings and insomnia. These symptoms can leave women feeling anything but motivated to work out. The good news is that a regular exercise routine can help alleviate these common symptoms.
Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer Angela Horner gives a word to women, encouraging them to overcome the obstacles of menopause with exercise.
Mindfulness in menopause
“I always first encourage my clients to remember that while menopause is challenging, it is only temporary,” Horner says. “You will come out on the other side. That’s why the way you take care of yourself during this time in your life is very important.”
It can be difficult to stay motivated when you’re not feeling your best, but staying fit and active remains vital. Due to the sharp decrease of estrogen during menopause, women are more prone to gaining weight as well as losing muscle and bone density. In addition, women can also become more susceptible to heart disease due to the loss of estrogen.
The impact of cardiovascular exercise
A balanced exercise program can not only reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms, but also prevent weight gain and bone density loss. Horner explains that the exercise recommendations during menopause actually do not differ any from any other time in life. “Regular cardiovascular exercise is highly recommended not only for heart health but bone density as well,” states Horner. Walking, jogging, tennis, dancing and cycling are ideal cardio options for women in this stage of life. One of the advantages of this type of aerobic exercise is that it provides enough impact to cause osteogenesis, or bone growth, while also maintaining joint health.
The importance of strength training
Strength training is also beneficial for increasing and maintaining bone density and muscle mass for a healthy body mass index. “It’s a myth that a woman who lifts weights is going to get big and bulky,” Horner explains. “What’s important is that you challenge yourself with enough weight-bearing exercise that will promote bone growth and keep you from losing muscle.”
A balanced strength training program should include all muscle groups and be performed at a metabolically-challenging intensity, which keeps your heart rate up for the duration of the workout, in order to elevate muscle and bone growth. Increasing muscular strength, along with flexibility, during menopause and beyond will help increase functionality, improve balance and reduce the risk of bone fractures.
Remember, the life stage of menopause and the challenges that come with its symptoms are only temporary. While it may be difficult to find the same motivation to exercise as you did before, by pushing through the symptoms you set yourself up to come out on the other side of menopause healthier.
If you find yourself struggling with motivation or are uncertain of how to structure a workout program that is right for you during menopause, recruit the help of a professional. A professional fitness trainer can help build a workout program for your needs based on your life stage and schedule.
For more information about Cooper Fitness Center or to schedule a session with a Professional Fitness Trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.