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Menopause: Exercises & Tips for Aging Gracefully

 

Though the natural cycle of menopause in women can be a challenging time for some, (with unpleasant symptoms that can seem everlasting), it’s important to remember that it’s a natural phase of life that all women experience as their bodies age. 

In this article, we’ll go over what to expect during menopause and how to know when you’re going through the motions. In addition, we’ll give tips on how to enter this stage of your life gracefully and with less anxiety. The truth is, the healthier your lifestyle and your diet is now, the easier menopause will be for you, no matter how far away it is.

If you begin implementing healthier habits now, you’ll be able to lean on them to get through some of the more difficult aspects of menopause. In addition, studies show that the healthier you are going into menopause, the less likely you are to experience negative side effects or witness health problems as a result of it.

Plus, if you’re already in menopause, we’ll give you some great tips for how to better sail through it… such as exercises for “menopause belly”, the best strength training exercises for menopause, and how to sidestep menopause exercise intolerance.

The truth is, once you’re equipped with the right information, you won’t be as scared of this time in your life or feel defeated – because you’ll be ready to step through menopause with your head held high. Read on to discover how…

What Is Menopause?

woman thinking and looking at side isolated on a white background

Every women eventually goes through menopause. It’s a natural phase of life that happens as a woman’s body ages and moves away from child-bearing years to no longer reproducing. The most common age for women to start experiencing menopause is between 45 and 55. However, some women as young as in their 30’s can start having symptoms, while others may not experience any until their 60’s.

Before beginning menopause, many women may start to experience longer durations between periods, or have some symptoms of menopause; However, menopause doesn’t officially start until menstruation has ceased for 12 consecutive months. The transition phase beforehand is called perimenopause. Once menopause actually starts, however, symptoms can last for around four to five years, although some may last longer.

While most women are born with around 3 million eggs in their body, this number gradually reduces over time. By the time a woman has her first period, she’ll likely have around 400,000 eggs. And once she gets to menopause and no longer has her period, her egg reserve is typically less than 10,000. 

What Are the Main Symptoms of Menopause?

Alarm clock on night table showing 3 a.m.

It’s important to note that when it comes to menopause symptoms, everyone is unique in what they will experience. As mentioned, the healthier your lifestyle, the less likely the following side effects will bother you. However, some of the most common things that women experience due to hormonal fluctuations during menopause include…

Hot Flashes

You’ve probably heard at least one woman in your life complain about hot flashes – which are sudden, uncontrollable rushes of warmth over the body. They’re typically most intense over the face, neck and chest, and your skin may also redden. Hot flashes typically happen during the night during menopause, but can also occasionally occur throughout the day.

Night Sweats

This next menopause symptom can happen during the night while you’re sleeping, and is basically episodes of extreme perspiration or excessive sweating. In serious cases, this may cause your bedding or sleepwear to become soaked. For some women, these episodes are so intense that they wake them up and they’re unable to go back to sleep.

Insomnia

The inability to fall asleep can also be an issue for some. If you already suffer from insomnia, it can unfortunately get worse during menopause. But on the flip side of that, insomnia can still strike even if a woman has never had issues falling asleep before. Two major reasons sleep is a challenge during menopause are the night sweats and hot flashes.

Mood Swings

Because estrogen levels decrease during menopause, hormones are out of whack and off balance. This can create havoc in your body and may make you moody during menopause. Mood swings during this time can be especially more intense for those who are already prone to anxiety and depression.

Facial Hair + Skin Changes

Chin hair and extra facial hair is also common in some women going through menopause. Some additional skin changes that women experience may include acne, skin-thinning and dryness.

Forgetfulness

Because there are lower levels of estrogen during menopause, forgetfulness can actually increase. This is due to the fact that estrogen levels play a role in short-term memory loss. However, exercise, staying hydrated, eating a clean and healthy diet, and sleeping in a cool room at night can help improve sleep and give your body what it needs to combat menopause “brain fog”.

Weight Gain

Next, let’s talk about weight gain during menopause, which is unfortunately common due to hormonal and metabolic changes. However, gaining weight during menopause is not only frustrating, it can actually be dangerous – as it puts you at a greater risk for obesity and other diseases. 

One of the main reasons for this is because gaining weight around your midsection is actually more common at this time, and abdominal fat is quite dangerous. Having excess belly fat can put you at a greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other potentially serious health problems.

The most important thing you can do for your health during menopause is, again, adopt a healthy lifestyle to combat any intense weight gain during this time period, and the health risks that come with it. In addition, doing exercises for overall fitness and menopause belly are extremely instrumental, which is what we’ll talk about next… 

Why Exercise is Important During Menopause

Woman meditates and relax in yoga pose in forest

If there are various tools that can help you live your best life while battling menopause symptoms, exercise is one of your best options.

Exercise boosts immune health, and can help you stay well during menopause. According to one study, near-daily brisk walking compared with inactivity reduced the number of sickness days by half over a 12 to 15-week period without change in resting immune function.

So, establishing a habit of exercising at least 3 days a week could be a recipe for a slimmer waist and a healthier you during menopause. Some great exercises to engage in during this time include cardio, strength training, yoga, dancing and even Zumba.

In particular, strength training exercises for menopause are especially important because they can help you keep your metabolism at a nice boosted level to burn more body fat, as well as preserve bone and muscle strength.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to do anything crazy here to see results! You can invest in a set of dumbbells for quick home workouts, but you can also rely on your own body strength. For instance, push-ups, lunges, squats and sit-ups are all strength training exercises to help preserve lean muscle.

Keep Up With H20 During Menopause

woman pouring water into glass from water filter pitcher

Keep in mind that menopause doesn’t have to rob you of your sleep, joy, or body temperature. One of the best ways to stay cool during this time is to drink plenty of water! Because carbonated sodas can increase bloating and lead to weight gain, it’s important to trade in that soft drink, (and other sugary beverages) for water.

You may not realize that 75% of the human body is made up of water – and dehydration can negatively alter your mood and memory, cause fatigue, and trigger hot flashes. In addition, it can also result in menopause muscle exercise intolerance – when your body simply can’t perform at the level you’re used to reaching. So, why not invest in your health by making sure you always have plenty of water?

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be confined to plain ole’ H20 while you’re trying to stay hydrated… You can definitely make things more exciting by mixing it up with other healthy, water-based beverages. These may include healthy green juices, sugar-free lemonades, herbal teas and meal replacement shakes.

 

To learn more about 310 solutions and how they can help you get through perimenopause and menopause, visit 310Nutrition.com. In addition, the 310 Health Blog contains nutritionist-approved recipes and articles for your healthiest life at any age.  

Sources:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-199927020-00001

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/418799

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-natural-menopause-tips#section3

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12117397

https://www.everydayhealth.com/menopause-pictures/ways-to-beat-menopausal-belly-fat.aspx

https://www.prevention.com/health/g20469985/8-things-youre-doing-now-that-make-menopause-worse-later/

https://www.healthline.com/health/ten-best-menopause-activities

Written by:

Dana Gates

310 Nutrition Senior Writer

Dana Gates is a seasoned writer and researcher with over a decade of experience writing about all things health and wellness. Through her articles, she aims to inspire others to live their best, healthiest, and most active lives–by making wise lifestyle and dietary choices daily. Her ultimate goal at 310 [...]

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