Even if you’ve never exercised, it’s never too late to start and a great time to start is when you reach the menopause. If you already exercise, this is a good time to review the type of exercise you do to make sure your body is in the best shape possible for the next phase in your life.
What Can Exercise Do for You?
It Prevents Weight Gain
Lots of women feel they put on weight during menopause. While medical research might say otherwise, I know from my own experience, and from a lot of women I’ve spoken to, that losing weight becomes harder. You might find that you are losing your waist as hormonal changes cause fat to deposit around your middle. Moving more can only help.
It Reduces Cancer Risk
Being overweight presents the same risk from cancer as taking HRT, which by the way is very small. This means if you don’t want to take HRT because of the associated risks then it’s time to get moving. Exercising at any time can offer some form of protection against cancer.
It Helps Build Strength
Exercise can slow down bone loss which is associated with osteoporosis. Building muscle mass also has the added benefit of burning more calories, so if you want to maintain a healthy weight it’s a win-win.
It Boosts Your Mood
When you are physically active you can lower your risk of depression and anxiety. Learning routines can help stimulate your thinking and help with concentration. Even gentle stretching can help boost your mood, according to a Japanese study.
What Type of Exercise Should You Do?
So what things can you do? Well the good news is there’s lots of choice. It’s all about working out what you enjoy most which may be one thing or a combination of different forms of exercise.
This form of exercise gets your heart pumping and will help you shed those extra pounds. Brisk walking, jogging, riding your bike, swimming, Zumba, dancing and trampolining, my favourite at the moment, will all do the trick. Starting with 10 mins 3 times per day in quick sharp bursts can make a real difference. Get that heart pumping!
You can go to the gym and use weight machines or do it yourself using hand held weights or even resistance tubing. It’s about choosing a weight heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 reps.
This is something you can do at home every day if you wanted. Stretching, even for a few minutes helps keep you mobile and supple and reduces the risk of injuries. Think about stretching your large muscle groups and anywhere that you experience tightness. It can be as simple as touching your toes.
Stability and Balance Training
Anything that helps us prevent falls in later life is a bonus, so even standing on one leg while brushing your teeth is a start. If you like classes, then yoga and tai chi are great ways to increase your core strength and balance.
Any form of exercise is a good thing so don’t overthink it and get moving by building exercise into your everyday life. Walk to the shops rather than taking the car, take the stairs instead of the escalator, or get off the bus a stop earlier.
Every little helps.