It becomes easier for women to gain wait during menopause due to a slow down in metabolism and the fluctuations or hormones that can increase hunger. Weight gain can actually make menopause symptoms worse. Not only that, but did you know that menopausal women who don’t engage in regular exercise, and lead a sedentary lifestyle, are more likely to suffer from –
?Weak and stiff muscles
?Chronic back pain
?Shortness of breath
?Loss of bone mass
In addition, physically inactive women put themselves at a higher risk of developing serious medical conditions including –
?High blood pressure
?Coronary heart disease
By simply engaging in a regular exercise routine, you can dramatically reduce your chances of developing the above physical and psychological symptoms and conditions.
What are other benefits does exercise offer menopausal women?
Increase in bone mass – When our bodies remain inactive, we lose bone mass, increasing the risk of osteoporosis; a condition that is already a high risk factor for menopausal women due to the fact that their body not longer produces estrogen. However, just because an inactive woman may be suffering from loss of bone mass doesn’t mean she can’t do something about it.
Scientific studies have found that exercise encourages the rebuilding of bone mass. In fact, engaging in regular, moderate endurance exercises such as walking or jogging can help rebuild bone mass and preserve it, reducing the risk of future fractures. How is this possible? Exercise stimulates the cells that generate new bone to work excessively.
Improvement of hot flashes – Some research suggests that exercise may in fact increase estrogen levels which decreases the intensity of hot flashes
Reduction of mood swings – Exercise boosts your energy and can give you a sense of empowerment and control simply by improving your mood. The positive effect that exercise has on a person’s state of mind can be attributed to the release of endorphins that occurs during physical activity. Endorphins are the body’s “happy” hormones that also act as a painkiller when the body is injured.
The following are exercises that help to improve menopausal symptoms:
? Endurance exercises – As was previously mentioned these exercises help to build bone mass and include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobics, etc.
? Strength training – This type of exercise is designed to use resistance (IE weights, resistance bands, etc.) to help a person lose excess body fat, increase metabolism, and improve and maintain the strength of their muscles. If you are interested in this type of exercise, it’s a good idea to be taught by a qualified trainer.
? Yoga – This is an extremely beneficial exercise to both the mind and body. Yoga can provide energy and balance to a menopausal woman, which is something she may desperately need if her bodily changes are making her feel out of sorts. Yoga also gently stretches every muscle in the body which improves blood circulation, provides oxygenation to all tissues and cells and allows the body to fully relax. It’s a good idea to go to a Yoga class to receive proper instruction before going it alone.
Always remember to talk to you doctor before engaging in any vigorous exercise regimen as a means of menopause relief. Also make sure that you ease into your exercise routine and only increase your endurance when your body has become accustomed to the new physical activity.
By: Kathryn Whittaker
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