If you are struggling with menopause symptoms, the last thing you probably want to do is exercise, yet every day movement can make you feel more capable of getting through the worst of your symptoms and put you somewhat in control again. Humans are more sedentary than ever. Think about a typical day for most people: lying in bed, driving to and from work, sitting at a desk all day, watching TV, and going back right to bed again. And all this sitting around is literally killing us–it has been linked with being a risk factor for early death.
Moving every day does not have to be difficult, and you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the thought of it. I am not asking you to put on your sneakers and run 5km daily or hit the weights 5x per week. Simply stated, movement and exercise can be separated. All things (like doing housework, getting in your steps, walking the dog and taking the stairs instead of the elevator) help us to keep moving and get some feel-good endorphins flowing. Active people burn on average an extra 350 calories per day compared to sedentary and that is not including hitting the gym. Then by including working-out 2-3 times a week, you will get these additional benefits.
5 Reasons to exercise.
From around the age of 30 your muscles will start to shrink at the rate of 3-5% each year, that is simply the start of us aging, and when menopause comes along it becomes increasingly difficult to fight that decline and you will see your strength and power reduce. So it is imperative that you add strength training into your life to offset that decline and regain some natural strength. None of us want to be that frail old lady that keeps falling over, you have to start early to prepare our body for old age.
Burn More Calories
Building lean muscle also allows the body to do a wondrous thing. You see muscle burns more calories that fat so when you eat food your body just uses it in a more efficient way. And during menopause this becomes increasingly important as you become more sensitive to certain carbohydrates (in particular fructose) that can cause you to become insulin resistant. Building lean muscle helps keep that under control.
Change Your Shape
Building lean muscle will also help change your shape. You will not become big and bulky, more likely you will become smaller as muscle tends to be denser than fat. You might not see a big drop in the number on the scale, but chances are your pants size will change. We know that women with a healthier level of body fat suffer less symptoms during menopause than those who are obese.
As your estrogen drops during menopause, you become more likely to be a candidate for osteoporosis. One in two women over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis–isn’t that number staggering? So, for that reason alone, I would strongly encourage women in menopause to incorporate some element of resistance training. Using strength training to maintain a good level of body fat can also help you fight epidemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. New research has shown that lifting weights as we age can reduce your risk of early death by nearly 46%.
Something really amazing happens when you start to get strong: you start to feel empowered in other parts of your life. It’s one of those things that is under-rated by the young ‘uns, but for us ladies over 40 who often experience a sense of feeling incapable or having low self-esteem, this is huge! The rush of endorphins you get from a great workout will leave you feeling invincible, so let’s give ourselves the gift of having a strong body and a strong mind. The connection is undeniably there, and it can literally change your life.
Moving every day should make you feel good. If you are new to exercise and want to start working out, look for a group class that you might find enjoyable, pick up a pair of dumbbells and practice a few basic moves. It won’t be long before you see major improvements in your overall health and menopause symptoms.
Reposted from Fit & Chips by Amanda Thebe. All opinions expressed in this post are her own.
This post is sponsored by TherapeuticsMD, Inc.