Optimizing midlife fitness - discover the ideal 3 types of exercise.

menopause perimenopause and exercise strength exercise in menopause Jun 01, 2023
 

What is the best exercise to do in menopause?

You can’t sleep, your joints ache, and now you read that you’ve got to do some type of exercise more frequently than you wash your hair?! 

Seems a bit harsh doesn’t it - especially if it’s been decades since you’ve even thought about working out, too many dreadful memories of cross country running or sweaty gym kits to tempt you back into Lycra. But before you close this down and head off in search of something MUCH more relaxing to do, hear me out - your 80 year old future self will thank me for it. 

The thing is MOVEMENT is MEDICINE for women in the peri-menopause and beyond and this is why. 

 

As our ovaries start to produce less Oestrogen, the hormone that helps us feel juicy, energetic and laser focussed; we start to notice a knock on effect throughout our body. 

Obviously there are the well known symptoms such as;

  • Hot Flushes (Flashes in the US) 

  • Brain Fog 

  • Anxiety 

  • Lack of libido 

but there are some HIDDEN symptoms such as; 

  • Bones which are more brittle and liable to break

  • Muscle loss - known as Sarcopenia

  • Increased risk of heart disease 

These hidden symptoms can be life changing for some women but by putting some simple lifestyle strategies in place, we can actually start to reduce the risks very quickly. 

 

So whether a woman chooses to take HRT or not, movement becomes a non negotiable, just like cleaning our teeth. In order to be able to run around with the family, avoid some of the diseases associated with ageing and stay energetic and vibrant in menopause, we must move more! 

"The right type of movement  can ease your sore joints, help you sleep better,  improve those terrible feelings of rage and anxiety and even with weight control."

 

So why don’t we see midlife women queuing up outside gyms with their PE kit and a mat under their arms? 

Having spent 20 years working with women to help them find the right type of class for them, I feel strongly that very few fitness instructors understand what women need at this time nor do they plan workouts with our menopausal body in mind. 

We don’t need 60 minutes of an instructor shouting commands to perform exercises designed for men 20 years younger than us. 

Nor do we need classes that focus on ‘getting ripped’  often putting huge pressure on an already compromised pelvic floor (once again oestrogen is at play here) and leading to such exhaustion that we need to lie down for the afternoon.  

"we need specialised fitness classes tailored to a woman who’s often frazzled and frightened and already spinning too many plates." 

 

With the right advice and relevant fitness coaching, you can feel strong, fit and vibrant in menopause by using the power of Strength, Cardio, and Restorative Exercises for Women. 

 

Strength or Resistance workouts 

This may be a ‘new’ type of workout for many women in menopause, and it is often the one they are most daunted by. Any exercise which involves lifting your own bodyweight, or dumbbells, resistance bands or even domestic heavy objects, counts as resistance.

This type of workout will build up more shapely muscle and improve bone strength. And the best part, just 20-30 minutes of this type of workout twice a week will reap physical and mental huge benefits. If you have no idea how to even start this type of exercise you can buy this 4 week beginner strength programme specially designed for women in peri-menopause and get started today! 

 

Cardio - or something which makes you sweat. 

Yes,I know, you may already feel that you are sweating more than is comfortable right now but sweating in a workout means that you are increasing your heart rate - which will help to reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Even a simple walk can be turned into a cardio workout by swinging your arms and increasing your pace and going uphill. Of course we can sweat cycling, running, dancing, and even doing gardening or other manual chores. 

 

 

Slow and Restorative movement

If you’ve come from a background of more intense workouts, think Step, Zumba, Insanity or perhaps competitive sport like running, cycling or ball sports, this may feel like the hardest type of movement to incorporate into your week, because we don’t see it’s value in terms of exercise. 

The aim of slow restorative movement such as Yoga, Mindful Walking, Tai Chi,  is two fold. Firstly it helps to ground us, to find some calm inside a frantic brain and just concentrate on the NOW. Research also demonstrates that the twisting movements that are used in some Yoga poses are also beneficial for keeping our vascular system from ‘stiffening up’ and this reducing the chance of strokes as we age. 

Traditionally Yoga is a perfect way to do this but you may enjoy a stroll through a forest, a leisurely cycle along the coast, or perhaps a relaxing freestyle dance. 

 

My aim is to encourage all women to start somewhere - no one can embrace too many changes all at once so choose the type of exercise you are MOST likely to stick to and make a plan to start with that - we’ve even got an online Fitness Planner you can download to make it easier. 

Remember the Best Exercise is The One You Love!

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