Menopause Exercise For

August 17, 2010

 Reducing Menopausal Symptoms

Most women in North America will readily answer positively to the question "Is exercise necessary?" It took years to establish the fact that exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, now most people know that it is and many make sure they are doing what they need to do to ensure they are fit. In the past several years, the value of exercise as a means of reducing the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause has made serious headway.

The Value Of Exercise

Women who are either just embarking upon the menopause adventure or who have been on the road for a while, will find that exercise yields some great perks. They have better bone density, important because menopause is a time when bone density tends to decline and osteoporosis and arthritis set in; cholesterol and blood fats are lowered; they have stronger muscles and thinner waists and their endurance is much better than those women who don't exercise. Women who exercise during the menopausal years have fewer mood swings, fewer migraine headaches, and they sleep better.

Beat Those Symptoms Into Submission

Menopause has some rather unpleasant side effects, including depression, anxiety and stress. Exercise is a proven method for mood improvement and stress reduction. Those extra pounds that seem to creep onto the frame of a woman in menopause can be kept to a minimum with exercise because it creates a calorie deficit (as long as a healthy diet is in place). Some research indicates that exercise increases estrogen levels - that means the severity of hot flashes decreases. The North American Menopause Society goes so far as to state that "Exercise may cause the same magnitude of change as that induced by estrogen therapy." (The Effects of Physical Activity on Menopausal Symptoms and Metabolic Changes around Menopause).

How Do I Get Started?

So, now that we've established the benefits of exercise for menopausal and perimenopausal women, it's time to look at how to implement some form of fitness into daily life. If exercise has not been part of your routine before, it isn't too late to start, nor is it too late to see the good it will produce once you get moving. Just be sure to start slowly and listen to what your body is saying. It's really helpful to do things that are enjoyable. Nobody likes to "have to exercise" - it's more fun when you "want to exercise."

Some easy ways to get started include a walking program, bicycling, swimming, and doing yard work (really get into it). If going to the local fitness center appeals, then group fitness classes, cardio machines, and the weight room are all good options. Include weight bearing and resistance exercises because they help to increase bone density, necessary to fight off osteoporosis. On top of that, weight training increases the metabolism and reduces body fat. Besides, muscles need challenge in order to become strong. Working out with a trainer is a great way to get a fitness program established, one that works and fits into your lifestyle.

Whatever the final decision is regarding the type of exercise program you do, the decision to become more active is important. Staying active, moving around and involving family in physical activities everyone can participate in is a great way to enjoy life and take control of your health during these amazing years.

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