For women, the coming of menopause signals two things. First, it simply means an end to reproductive health and second, it marks the beginning of a more laid back lifestyle. With the kids all grown up, the menopausal woman can take things easy and pursue the activities that she put on hold when she had to cook and clean and prepare the children for school. Unfortunately, some (hopefully not most) women misinterpret the word “laidback” to mean “totally zero physical activity.” As a result, they neglect exercise and have to suffer the diseases brought about by increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Fitness for menopause must not be underestimated. A better quality of life awaits women at twilight of their years who actually take time to care for their bodies and minds. The physical benefits of exercise are actually enough motivation to devote at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity on most days of the week and strength training twice a week on alternate days.
First, it minimizes the inconveniences felt during menopause such as irritability and hot flashes. Exercise improves mood, especially during this time when your hormones seem to go awry and you can’t make head or tail with what you’re feeling.
Regular physical activity also helps you stave off weight gain which is the precursor to all the conditions mentioned above. Exercise also strengthens bones, lowering your risk of fractures due to falls caused by brittle bones that naturally come with age. Exercise keeps your posture erect, too.
When you engage in regular fitness for menopause activities, you are also minimizing your risk of breast cancer– the bane of many women in this day and age. Walking 10,000 steps a day has been shown to benefit in this regard. Aside from breast cancer, other forms of cancer as well as heart and respiratory problems are minimized with a daily exercise activity. Finally, because exercise releases endorphins which are “feel good” hormones, your mood and your overall psychological outlook is enhanced.
Obviously, not all fitness for menopause exercises is right for you. You have to take into consideration your currentfitness level and any preexisting medical condition you may have. If you have a history of joint or muscle injury, heart or lung conditions, are obese or overweight or are over 50 years old, you need to consult your doctor first who will give you guidelines on how much and what kinds of physical activity are actually beneficial for you. The kinds of exercises you can do to achieve your fitness for menopause goals are actually diverse. For aerobic activities on land, you could walk, jog or bike while on water, you can swim or do waterobics. You can do balance exercises on a stability ball or attain added flexibility through Yoga or Pilates programs. Strength training using light weights will also help strengthen your muscles and bones. You can just dance or manually cut the grasses in your front yard and you’d still stay fit. It doesn’t really matter what activity you do for as long as you do it consistently and sensibly.