If you’re in perimenopause (that transitional time before you haven’t had a period for 12 months), then you may be experiencing hot flushes, weight gain, mood swings, sleep disturbances and other symptoms. If ever there was a time for you to start incorporating exercise into your day then this could be it.
Here’s how exercise can help ease the transition through perimenopause into menopause.
Aerobic exercise helps reduce the risk of developing heart disease, which is increased during menopause. Changing oestrogen levels are a key factor in this and aerobic exercise is a great way to keep your heart healthy.
Cardio workouts get your heart pumping faster and your lungs working harder. This makes your cardiovascular system stronger.
Moderate walking, jogging, running, dancing and cycling are great choices for this.
Don’t be tempted to overdo it though, as that can lead to an increase in your stress hormone (cortisol) which will further throw your hormones out of whack.
As you age, your hormones contribute to the decrease in your lean body mass, which means that you lose muscle mass. Muscles help to burn calories while working out or while resting, so losing muscle mass means you are burning less fat.
The key is to focus on preserving and building your muscle mass as you age past forty. Strength training tells your bones, muscles and connective tissues that you need them to stay dense and strong.
During perimenopause, strength training is important for keeping your bones healthy and decreasing the risk of fractures and broken bones.
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga and Pilates are great for core strength, flexibility and they help to maintain weight by keeping your stress hormones in balance.
As perimenopause can be a stressful time, practising Yoga or Pilates can help you deal with stress in a healthy manner.
Yoga can also help with fatigue, irritability, mood swings and anxiety linked to perimenopause. Regular practise may help improve insomnia and according to some research even hot flushes can potentially be reduced
Restorative yoga poses can be helpful for perimenopause symptoms as they won’t overheat your body in the same way that more intense yoga poses can. This is significant if you’re experiencing hot flushes since the more vigorous yoga poses can exacerbate them.
Stretching is often overlooked as part of a fitness routine but it’s vitally important as you get older.
In one study, stretching for 10 minutes before bedtime helped menopausal women to reduce some of their symptoms, compared to women who did no stretching at all before going to bed. Participants self-reported that their psychological symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings and sleep problems improved.
The bottom line
Find ways to move your body that you truly enjoy, so “exercise” doesn’t feel like a slog. Walking the dog? Dance Party with the kids? Yoga? Cleaning out the attic? Everyone has their thing. You do what feels right for you. It doesn’t have to be a 60-minute run or a slog at the gym as moderate exercise can be a great way to keep your hormone levels healthy, especially when it’s combined with a good diet, plenty of sleep and a healthy lifestyle.
So be realistic about your exercise goals and find a form of movement that you enjoy and can commit to doing consistently so that you can have a symptom free perimenopause experience.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For medical advice always consult your physician. The information provided in this blog is based on the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing and we do not assume liability for the information within this blog, be it direct or indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages.