The average age for women to go through the menopause is 52, some will start earlier and some later but every woman experiences the menopause differently, tiredness, mood swings, hot flushes and weight gain are some of the symptoms that may either be mild or excessive and can be very disruptive. The good news is that you can adopt some lifestyle changes to help cope with these changes and exercising regularly is one of these changes.
Exercise can help by staving off weight gain and loss of muscle mass and should include aerobic, strength and relaxation activities. As you enter menopause your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and type 2 diabetes increase so exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can help to offset these risks.
A balanced programme would be intense strength training 1-3 times per week with strength over cardio to keep muscles tight, HIIT (such as Grit or Sprint) 1-2 times per week, walking to achieve 10,000 steps on all or most days and finally rest and recovery activities such as yoga, slow walking, massage or meditation at least 3 times per week.
Aerobic activity should make use of all the large muscle groups while keeping up your heart rate, such as brisk walking, jogging, biking or swimming or machines such as the elliptical or the StairMaster. Group exercise classes such as Spinning, RPM, AquaFit, BodyCombat and BodyStep are also great ways to get that cardio kick your body needs. But if you prefer something a little more light hearted dance can help build muscle and keep you flexible as well as being great fun, so why not give our Virtual Sh’bam class a go? You also need to include 1-2 HIIT sessions in your workout such as Sprint and Grit.
Strength training is vital to include in your workout programme as the risk of osteoporosis following menopause increases dramatically. Strength training will help to build bone and muscle strength, burn body fat, boost your metabolism and keep your body tight. Choose weight machines or free weights in the gym and select a weight that is heavy enough to fatigue your muscles in 12 repetitions completing 1-3 sets of each exercise. You might also like to consider BodyPump and BodyVive as part of your strength programme.
In the busy, stressful lives that we lead it is hard to find time to rest, recover and relax, but during menopause this becomes even more important because calming the mind and body can also help alleviate symptoms such as: hot flashes, irritability and fatigue. Practicing, deep breathing, meditation, yoga or BodyBalance may offer some relief. A leisurely walk outdoors or on the treadmill, a massage, a facial or even naps can all form part of your rest and relaxation and should last at least an hour.
You also need to make sleep a priority, but that can be difficult when you find yourself waking up 2/3 times a night in a pool of sweat from hot flushes. Clients that I train have found that regular exercise has really helped them to sleep a lot better at night.
Finally, to be successful with your exercise plan you need to set goals and they need to be realistic, attainable and specific so for example: “I will go to the gym on a Monday , Wednesday, Friday at 6pm” or “I will swim with a friend once a week” or “I will take a spinning class twice a week”.
Recruit a friend or your spouse to work out with to help keep you motivated or hire a Personal Trainer who will also help to keep you on track and hold you accountable. As well as helping you to execute exercises with good technique and educate you on how to work your muscles effectively. View our Personal Trainer profiles and contact our Reception Team on 723366 to book a session.