Menopause effects roughly half of the population but it’s still not really a spoken about subject in our society, never mind in the fitness world. To be completely honest, I don’t really know much about it myself! But with the majority of my current Health and Fitness Members being women (most of which have experienced menopause) I thought it was about time I done my research. I want to help women engage positively with exercise and understand how exercise can have a positive impact regardless of the challenges you may face.
First off, I think it’s important to acknowledge that only females experience menopause. Just in case there were any males reading this and starting to panic… Now that that’s out the way, let’s get started.
This article is going to focus on the relationship between menopause and exercise. I am going to be answering three questions; What is Menopause? When does it occur, and the symptoms associated with it? and What impact can exercise have (if any) when experiencing menopausal symptoms?
Again, I know nothing about this topic, but I am keen to learn so if anything below is inaccurate, please drop me an email and I would be happy to learn more 🙂
So, let’s dive in…
1. What is Menopause?
The menopause is when women stop having periods due to lower hormone levels. This happens as a result of ageing, and it’s important to highlight that it is a complete natural process as well. Additionally, women can also experience menopausal symptoms whilst still on their period. This experience is known as Perimenopause.
2. When does it occur and what are the symptoms?
Menopause typically happens between the ages of 45-55. However, it can also happen at an earlier age and is nothing to be concerned about as it effects everyone differently at different times. Menopause is usually kickstarted by the absence of your period (12 months or more).
Menopause and Perimenopause normally cause symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, hot flushes, and irregular periods. These symptoms can start years before your periods stop and carry on afterwards.
3. What impact can exercise have?
As you know, I am a big advocate for using exercise as a tool and resource to manage your health and wellbeing. Well, this is no different for you if you are experiencing menopausal symptoms! Evidence shows that a regular exercise routine can help reduce hot flushes, manage your weight, lift your mood, improve your self-esteem, help you sleep better, and reduce anxiety. In fact, not only is exercises great for managing your symptoms in a general sense, including both cardiovascular training and strength training is recommended, which can have a huge impact on your everyday life.
The general guidance for improving your fitness is at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. There is no difference in recommendations for managing the menopause either. So, no need for you to be searching for the latest exercises or fitness trends. Simply aim to be active every day for 20-30 minutes and you’re off to a great start. Additionally, throw in a couple of strength specific training to help increase your bone density, increase your muscle strength and allow you to manage your weight effectively.
The great news here, is that you don’t need to follow some special exercise programme (unless recommended by your doctor). All you need is to continue to do what you have been doing or aim to increase your activity levels and create a routine that works for you. This will help you manage the symptoms of the menopause, AND help you become stronger and fitter for everyday life!
There are alternative therapies to manage your symptoms, which is beyond the scope of my research but feel free to do your own research and see what works best for you – and leave a comment with any information you find!
As always, if you would like some additional support to help get a routine sorted for you, then I am just an email away email@example.com
Your Local Health and Fitness Coach
NHS Website – Menopause – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Bupa Website – Menopause (bupa.com.au)