Contrary to myths, menopause isn’t easy to be detected. Most symptoms are so common that any middle-aged woman would not suspect fatigue or muscle pain as menopausal signs. Most women would often mistake these bodily changes as results of aging and exhaustion, without knowing that they have already entered the menopausal stage.
When you hit menopause, your hormones start declining in number, most especially your female sex hormones. Because of this hormonal imbalance, various body parts are affected, including your muscles and joints. As a result, you may feel your body aching. Your thyroid hormones, which are in charge of your body’s energy level, are also affected when estrogens drastically decrease, making you feel restless most of the time. But don’t worry, for these menopausal after-effects can be countered and mitigated through exercising.
How can exercise help women going through menopause, and what are the best activities for them? Learn more about the benefits of exercise and how you can exercise in the best and safest way possible.
Benefits of Exercising for Menopausal Women: Why Should You Exercise?
People should exercise, regardless of age and gender. Here are the primary reasons why exercise is healthy for women going through menopause.
1. It can prevent weight gain.
Women during menopause tend to gain more abdominal fat. This increase in body fat has become a common menopausal effect, rooted in a slower metabolism rate. In this case, it can be an obstacle, especially for women trying to keep their bodies in shape. Gaining too much weight can also endanger your cardiovascular health and may even trigger diabetes. When you couple it with a healthy diet, your regular exercise is beneficial for weight management.
2. It can build up your stamina.
Have you recently been tired of carrying heavy objects or walking from one place to the other? If so, you may need to work on building and improving your stamina. When you exercise, you are improving your cardiovascular endurance. Once your body is used to regular exercise, you will less likely experience muscle spasms, body aches, back pain, and extreme fatigue.
3. It can tone your muscles.
It’s also common for women to start losing muscle mass on their arms, thighs, and abdomen once they enter the menopausal stage. To prevent that from occurring, you can try different types of exercise that focus on building muscles. Exercising also helps women burn excess body fat and form muscles, thereby keeping their bodies in good shape.
4. It improves your sleep quality.
When you exercise, your body heat increases and signals your body to stay awake and active. When you are done exercising, your body starts cooling down through sweating, and this drop in your body temperature can signal your body to go to sleep. Studies also show that regular exercise can help alleviate sleeping problems during the menopausal stage. Therefore, if you want to fall asleep as soon as possible, you may want to perform any physical activity that will soak you in sweat and get your body moving. However, don’t forget to rinse your body after a sweaty workout.
5. It can dissipate stress.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. No matter how preoccupied you are with your career, family, and personal goals, you should never neglect exercise. Studies show that exercise can improve one’s mental health, and it can also reduce your stress levels. According to Harvard Health Publishing by the Harvard Medical School, exercise can increase the secretion of endorphins or chemicals that regulate mood and pain. By keeping yourself physically active, you mitigate stress-induced menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, insomnia, weight loss, and thinning hair.
6. It enhances your self-confidence.
Being physically fit also affects the way you see yourself. When you feel good physically and mentally, you grow more confident. This self-confidence can be seen externally, as you become more radiant and healthy-looking. As a result, you become more assertive in performing tasks, accepting challenges, and even meeting other people despite your age.
7 Best Exercises Every Woman Can Try during Her Menopause Journey
Now that you know the significance of exercising, you should learn and try seven of the best exercises for women going through menopause.
1. Cardio workout
Preventing fatigue does not only involve the development and strengthening of your muscles. Doing aerobic exercises, also known as cardio workouts, is vital in conditioning and building your lungs and heart’s stamina, thereby preventing fatigue. Being physically active also helps you stabilize your metabolism rate, which also means better weight management.
Most aerobic activities can be done without spending lavishly. You can work on ameliorating your cardiovascular stamina by walking, jogging, running, cycling, or swimming. If you opt to work out in a gym, you can try different exercises using a stationary bike, treadmill, elliptical machine, or jumping rope.
If you still think that cardio exercise can wear you out, you may want to try yoga. This self-meditative exercise involves different poses that target balance, flexibility, and muscular strength. Some studies have also discovered how doing yoga’s restorative postures can reduce hot flash frequency and severity among menopausal women. Yoga also helps reduce your stress levels, both physically and mentally. By doing some poses on a yoga mat, you can make your mind more relaxed while enhancing your body’s flexibility and stature. You can also keep your cardiovascular health in check by doing some breathing exercises. Whether you are physically flexible or not, you are still capable of doing yoga as regular exercise.
Do you want to exercise in a fun and exciting way? If so, dancing might be perfect for your tastes. Dancing is an aerobic exercise that focuses on improving your stamina and targets agility, balance, synchronization, and other skills you need for mobility.
Dancing is also another gateway to reducing stress. You get to release your emotions by doing physical movements. Plus, you’ll get to meet new people and establish relationships with fellow women when you join a dance class or club.
Who says women in their 40s and 50s can’t do sports? As a matter of fact, women are highly encouraged to engage in physical activities, such as doing sports. If you don’t want strenuous activities like basketball, football, baseball or volleyball, you can try badminton, tennis, cycling or golf.
Like any other type of physical activity, being active in sports trains your mind and body amidst your menopausal transition. Various studies have also shown that sport-related exercises can improve one’s cardiovascular system by reducing harmful cholesterol levels. Enjoying such physical activities during your leisure time can improve your blood lipid profile.
5. Strength and muscle training
If you are conscious of your loose skin and saggy arms and legs, you may want to try activities focusing on strength and muscle training, such as bodyweight workouts. You can try weightlifting to build your biceps and triceps. Other exercises that you can do in the comfort of your home include push-ups, sit-ups, squats, crunches, planks, lunges, and jumping jacks. This type of workout does not only help keep the muscles in your arms, legs, thighs, abdomen, back, and buttocks in shape, but it also helps gain muscular strength and endurance for your day-to-day activities.
For some women, exercising is a luxury. Despite the hectic schedule, it is still important to allot some time for body stretching. A long day at work may stiffen up your muscles and cause body pain. By doing some quick stretching exercises, you are allowing your body to relax and relieve tension. Regular stretching is also healthy for your posture and prevents your body from experiencing soreness and fatigue. Extending your muscles should also be done as a warm-up exercise before engaging in a strenuous task or doing sports to avoid muscle pain and other injuries.
7. Household chores
In reality, not all women can do the exercises mentioned above every day. If you’re not into sports or heavy exercising, you can still keep yourself physically active by doing household chores. Yard work, house renovation, and housekeeping activities may not be your ‘typical’ exercises, but these household tasks can help you build endurance against stress and fatigue. Plus, doing household work also helps maintain your house in superb condition.
Exercise is a Great Relief for Menopausal Symptoms.
Exercise is more than just maintaining your figure. In general, exercise keeps you healthy, and it is an excellent aid in keeping menopausal symptoms from stressing you out mentally and physically. Therefore, your goal is to keep yourself healthy throughout your menopausal journey. Women of all ages should prioritize exercise just as how much they'd care about their diet. By keeping yourself physically active, you can quickly mitigate the adverse effects brought upon by menopause.
Wash Your Hair after Exercising.
Regular exercise is essential in mitigating menopausal symptoms. However, your sweat can attract bacteria, which may not be healthy for your scalp. Thus, it must be your habit to thoroughly wash your mane with a hair growth shampoo after a sweaty exercise. Don’t forget to use other hair growth products to keep hair growth issues at bay.