So you’ve gone through so many periods in your life. You probably have multiple stories to tell here and there—some embarrassing and some that you can probably use to give great advice to your daughters, nieces, and granddaughters. Maybe you’ve even tried birth control pills to make that time of the month a little more comfortable. And now…you don’t have to worry about that “time of the month” every again! YAY!
Your menopausal transition is here—and it’s not going to be easy, especially if you want to stay active. Whether you’re starting a walking program or trying your hand at activities you passed on the opportunity to before hitting 50, you’re probably thinking about what your body can and cannot do.
Of course, you can still exercise and even lose weight in menopause and beyond, but you must keep some do’s and don’ts in mind to stay safe and avoid pain.
Before we get to what you should and shouldn’t do, let’s first discuss why exercise is essential during menopause and how this time of your life can affect your active lifestyle.
Why You Need To Exercise During and After Menopause
Exercise has several advantages both during and after menopause, including:
- Preventing weight gain. Around menopause, women frequently experience muscle loss and abdominal fat increase. Regular exercise can aid in preventing weight gain.
- Strengthening your bones and joints. Exercise helps slow down the process of bone loss, reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Regularly moving around can help stabilize your joints and reduce pain and inflammation.
- Reducing the risk of contracting other illnesses. Gaining weight during and after menopause will have detrimental effects on your health. Excess weight makes you more likely to contract type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Exercising daily can reduce these risks.
- Reducing the risk of cancer. During or after menopause, exercise can help you reduce extra weight or maintain a healthy weight, protecting you from many forms of cancer, including breast, colon, and endometrial cancer.
- Enhancing your mood. Physically active adults are less likely to have depression, cognitive impairment, or decline.
- Improving your sleep. Most people who are dealing with menopause don’t have a good sleep. Regular exercise can help relieve you of this struggle.
Can Menopause Have An Impact On Your Workout Plan?
The short answer is yes—menopause can affect your exercise routine.
There are several variables at play. One is that menopause can almost wholly erase motivation. Exercising regularly will be considerably more challenging if you don’t even feel like going.
The second thing that can happen is in relation to the symptoms you feel during and beyond menopause. For example, it will be pretty uncomfortable if you’re working out at the gym and you start to feel the onset of hot flashes or chills.
Thirdly, fatigue may also be an issue. Menopause can make you feel exhausted. Going to the gym or enrolling in an exercise class is the last thing you want to do if you are so exhausted that you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Lastly, joint discomfort is another issue that may make exercising difficult. Performing a lot of activity will not be feasible if you are experiencing joint discomfort.
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Exercising During and After Menopause
Without further ado, below are the things you should and shouldn’t do when exercising during and beyond menopause.
Find An Activity That You Enjoy
During menopause, you’ll drag yourself to class or the gym because of a lack of motivation. Don’t be too hard on yourself from the get-go and enroll in classes or do exercises that lift you up.
You can even consider going with a group of friends so that you can all support one another and get a little bit more fun out of it.
Rest And Recover Properly
In an effort to control or reduce your weight, you’ll be tempted to work out every single night. Do not end up doing this!
Your body must focus on many different things during and beyond menopause. You won’t get the best results from your workout if you keep pushing yourself a little more. So, if you do exercise today, make sure to rest tomorrow. Now, this doesn’t mean not being active at all. You can go for a stroll or do some light stretching.
Let your body recuperate enough so you wouldn’t have to experience fatigue.
Hydration Is Important
If you’re exercising regularly and sweating buckets, remember to drink lots and lots of water. Dehydration is the enemy during and beyond menopause.
Low estrogen is another symptom of menopause; with this, your body’s capacity to keep itself hydrated will also be affected. As a result, if you don’t drink enough water, you risk becoming extremely dehydrated after your workout. Then, as a result of the dehydration, you’ll find that your symptoms will worsen throughout the evening or the following day.
Jump Into It Without A Strategy
If you don’t have an exercise regimen yet, but decide to begin one, start cautiously and plan it well. If you dive into it too fast, you risk injuring your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints.
Go at your own pace and gradually increase your load as you improve. Trust us, you will spare yourself a great deal of pain.
Do One Routine Exercise Or Set Of Exercises
To keep your body functioning well during and after menopause, you must look at all its different areas. Consider your heart health. You can promote and support it by doing exercises such as jogging, swimming, Zumba, or dancing.
You also need to think about strength. Strength training is necessary to maintain your muscle mass and encourage bone growth. Try elastic resistance bands or things like dumbbells and kettlebells.
Don’t forget about stretching and balance! As we age, it becomes increasingly challenging to perform simple tasks like bending down to put on your shoes, picking something up off the floor, reaching up in the kitchen, or simply turning around to accomplish anything. Activities like yoga, pilates, tai chi, or any other stretching exercise you enjoy will help you immensely.
Know your limit, and never push yourself too much! If you continue to force yourself to attend fitness sessions when you’re already tired, you will be at risk for fatigue. This will only worsen your symptoms and keep you unmotivated for days or even weeks.
So, if there’s anything you need to remember, let it be this: you always have to pace yourself carefully whenever you’re exercising.
Stay Motivated To Keep An Active Lifestyle During And Beyond Menopause!
Achieving and maintaining an active lifestyle during your menopause and postmenopause years is difficult, but it’s worth it. To stay motivated, don’t be too hard on yourself and set realistic goals.
You don’t have to visit the gym to workout as activities like dancing and gardening will also help enhance your health. Whatever you decide, just remember to take time to safely warm-up and cool down.
For more fitness and nutrition advice in your 50s and beyond, make sure to read the articles from Be Healthy Enough’s Healthy Tips.
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Content written by Kat Sarmiento