Menopause and Exercise: 5 Ways to Reduce Risks and Symptoms
Menopause can interfere with your lifestyle. It can slow you down due to lack of sleep, hot flashes, stress, etc. Let’s face it —it’s a challenge to stay motivated when your body is going through “the change.” Although, as tricky as it may seem, taking care of yourself should be a top priority when you reach menopause. Once you go through menopause, your risk for health conditions increases. For instance, menopause increases your risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and urinary incontinence. Fortunately, the combination of menopause and exercise can improve your health and lower your risk for most types of health problems associated with menopause. Plus, exercise can not only be used as a menopause treatment but as a mental health treatment too.
Here are five benefits of exercising during menopause.
1. Improve bone health
Women who reach menopause have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis or bone loss. Exercise helps enhance and maintain bone density. It also lowers your risk for fractures. Ask your gynecologist about fitness programs ideal for women who want to prevent osteoporosis.
Combine aerobic exercise with strength training for the best results. For example, do sets of weight training exercises such as push-ups, squats, and lunges, followed by 30 minutes of brisk walking. Over time, your muscles and bones will strengthen. Therefore, your risk for osteoporosis will become lower.
2. Improve heart health
Declining estrogen levels can affect blood vessel health and increase your risk of heart disease. However, aerobic exercise can improve blood flow and circulation as well as blood vessel health. Engage in 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three days per week to lower your risk for heart disease. Examples of ideal aerobic exercises that can help include walking, running, swimming, and dancing.
3. Enhance your mood
Menopause can cause irritability and mood swings due to estrogen deficiency. This can also interfere with sleep and make you feel moodier than usual. Fortunately, exercise naturally helps lift your mood and combats depression and anxiety. Maintain a regular exercise routine to benefit from increased endorphin levels and less moodiness.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Many women tend to gain excess weight during menopause due to fluctuating hormone levels. However, exercise naturally helps combat menopause and weight gain. Combine regular exercise with a diet high in nutrition such as whole foods and protein to see better results in terms of weight management.
5. Improve urinary incontinence
Menopause is associated with a higher risk for urinary incontinence and bladder leakage. Exercise can also help with these conditions. Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic muscle exercises, can strengthen your bladder and urethral sphincter muscles. Strengthening these muscles prevents you from experiencing future accidents. Ask your gynecologist for more information about how to perform Kegel exercises and how they can aid in preventing urinary incontinence.
The board-certified physicians at Women’s Care are dedicated to providing the gold-star standard in women’s healthcare. Each of our Physician Care Groups has a distinctive style and practice that can be tailored to fit your individual needs.
For more information about how WCF can help you take care of you, contact us to schedule an appointment.