All women go through menopause and it is a period of extreme change, both physically and mentally. Many women feel as if they have less energy during this period and their body shows the signs of this. The midriff in particular starts to expand. And even those women who are engaged in an active, healthy lifestyle will start to experience this weight gain. It is very important, therefore, as a woman, to make sure that you continue to exercise and consume a healthy diet during menopause in order to ensure good health during middle age and beyond.
Why Exercise Is So Important
Exercise and fitness is an important component of a person’s lifestyle. However, many people feel that once they have hit menopause, they can start to become less concerned about their overall look since they feel much less energetic anyway and most people within their age range start to expand around the waistline as well. But continuing to engage in physical fitness activities is actually vital for overall good health.
Physical activity during and after menopause can help you lose excess weight or maintain a healthy weight, which might offer protection from breast cancer.
Additionally, it helps to prevent weight gain, which may cause a range of health problems. It also strengthens the bones, preventing illnesses, such as osteoporosis. It also helps bring down the risk of various other health problems and strengthens your mental health.
How to Exercise During and After Menopause
It is very important to always have an exercise plan that suits your lifestyle, goals and desires. Additionally, particular areas of the female body are highly susceptible to change during this period. One of the areas that changes the quickest is the midriff, which is why all women should exercise to address their core.
Body fat settles around the midsection in many older women. You can’t spot reduce (target your tummy to lose inches in that area only), but you can do moves to strengthen your core, such as the plank.
There are various gentle forms of exercise women could take part in that help them not only strengthen their core, but also to relax their minds. Yoga and Pilates are two examples of these. With this type of exercises women work on the strength and flexibility of all their muscles and joints, but particularly on their core. Additionally, they will learn how to breathe properly and how to relax the mind in general. Meditating, in whatever form, always contributes to better mental health and well-being, so this is certainly something worth considering as part of one’s fitness program.
Women should also take part in regular cardiovascular exercises. This is the type of exercise that strengthens the muscles of the heart. It builds stamina, reinforces the lungs and keeps movement easy by working on the body’s flexibility. There are numerous forms of cardio exercises that women in menopause could choose to take part in, although speed play is one of the best.
Speed play—a mixture of interval training and continuous training. Once you have a good basic level of fitness, you might run a mile at a strong pace, recover by walking, and then do some intervals. Although this method originated with runners, you can use it with any type of cardio.
If this type of exercise is too intensive, particularly for women who have not been taking part in regular exercise previously, then HIT (high intensity training) or circuit training are also very good. These exercises have bursts of activity on different muscle groups. Because the bursts are very quick, most people can cope with taking part in them and the results are amazing. They help with significant weight loss as they are high calorie burners and they help to build muscle and core strength.
Then, women should take part in some form of strength training as well. This is important not just to give the body definition, but also to keep the bones, joints and muscles strong enough to continue to carry the body. By doing strength training, women stave off osteoporosis, arthritis and various other ailments. Intensity training such as the ones described above is very beneficial for this, but there are other forms of strength training activities women could take part in as well.
At home, opt for dumbbell and resistance tubing. In the gym, choose from weight machines or free weights. Select a level that is heavy enough to tax your muscles in 12 repetitions and progress from there.
Some Things Not to Do
Finally, women during menopause must remember that their bodies are changing both inside and outside. This means that they must change the way they approach fitness and exercise so as not to injure themselves. Women who have not led a particularly active lifestyle in the past should stay away from activities that tax their bones, such as aerobics. If they are already in the early stages of osteoporosis, they would really place themselves at risk of bone fractures.
Activities requiring repeated or resisted trunk flexion, such as sit-ups or toe touches, should also be avoided because of the increased loads placed on the spine during such activities that may result in spine fracture.
After menopause, it is incredibly important to start listening to the body even more. If a woman, at any point, feels that her body is not able to take on a high intensity workout program, she should listen to these signs and take it easier. Working together with a good personal trainer or fitness center is vital for this, as she will be able to design a different exercise program that is less taxing. Additionally, if women have unstable angina, uncontrollable arrhythmia, heart failure, heart block or problematic ECG results, they should consider no longer working out in the gym, but only following advice from their medical professional in terms of what they can and cannot do physically. Women should always seek advice from their doctor in terms of how much they can take on anyway, in order to avoid possible injuries and illnesses.