Movement to Manage Menopause

Menopause is an important transition in a woman’s life and is different for each woman.   It is a term that means you’ve had your last menstrual cycle or period often occurring between the ages of 48 and 55.  During this time in a woman’s life, estrogen begins to reduce. Most women will experience numerous symptoms, which can become a burden and affect and compromise the quality of their daily lives.  Exercise helps reduce menopause-related symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms and physical changes that accompany menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, sleep disturbances, mood swings, lack of focus, increased anxiety, joint and muscle pain and weight gain.

Exercise not only helps reduce the many symptoms that come with menopause, it also reduces a woman’s risk for numerous medical conditions, including breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression and heart disease rises during and after menopause. Working out regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can help offset these risks.

The exercise recommendations for women in either peri- or post-menopause are very similar to those recommended for all women.   Often the most difficult part is starting an exercise program.  It is even harder during a time when hormonal fluctuations result in a variety of physiological and psychological changes.

Physical activity during and after menopause offers many benefits.

Menopause weight gain can have serious health implications. Due to hormonal changes, women tend to lose muscle mass and gain weight, especially abdominal fat around menopause.  Exercise has a powerful influence on a woman’s total body fat and abdominal fat during early menopause. Weight gain is more likely in women who are sedentary than in women who maintain a physically active lifestyle.   It also can help create a calorie deficit and minimize midlife weight gain. Maintaining a healthy weight also reduces the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Bones naturally weaken with age.  Bone loss becomes more rapid during menopause. Exercise will slow bone loss, keep your bones strong and make them even stronger, lowering the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

Physical activity improves your psychological health at any stage of life and is especially helpful during menopause. It relieves depression and anxiety and can improve your sleep patterns.  By reducing stress and balancing hormones, exercise may also relieve night sweats.

The risk of heart disease rises as estrogen reduction puts healthy blood vessels at risk.  Aerobic exercise can help reverse this risk.

A balanced exercise program to benefit your overall health should include aerobic activity, strength training, flexibility, and balance training.   Exercise performed under the direction of a trained, qualified professional provides the guidance and direction needed to ensure that you have a tailored program, exercise correctly and avoid injury.

Aerobic activity such as walking, running, biking, and swimming gets the heart pumping.  Aerobic exercise helps burn calories and is known to fight depression, anxiety and mood swings.

Strength training helps reduce body fat, build bones and strengthen muscles.  This type of training also increases your metabolism to more efficiently burn calories.  Strength training can include weight machines, hand weights or resistance bands.  Even if you don’t have osteoporosis but are worried about your bone density, it is important to incorporate weight training at this time of your life.

Flexibility is lost at a faster pace as we age.  To maintain and improve flexibility, stretching exercise should always be incorporated into your fitness routine.

As we age, our sense of equilibrium decreases.  Balance exercises improve your stability and help prevent falls.

Exercise does not always have to be hard work and does not always need to be done at a gym.   Many activities, such as dancing, gardening and other yard work also can improve your health.  The key to gaining benefit from exercise is to stay consistent.  Find something that you enjoy so that you will stick with it.

Exercise is one of the best ways to combat typical menopause symptoms. Additionally, the impact it has on the prevention of serious disease is indisputable. By engaging in a consistent, comprehensive exercise program, you can enjoy a good quality of life during and after menopause.

You can find Lynn Ortiz at: http://fitnesstogether.com/tysons/meet-our-trainers

 

 

LYNN ORTIZ
Lynn Ortiz was born and raised in the D.C. metropolitan area, Lynn graduated from JFK High School in Silver Spring Maryland and University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. Her new career in personal fitness is far removed from the 30 years she spent in the corporate consulting world. Most recently, she worked for an IT consulting firm in various operational leadership positions. She came to Fitness Together in 2008 and lost 45 pounds as well as half her body fat. The impact that Fitness Together had on her life instilled a passion in her to pursue this work. Lynn made a huge decision to change careers and began working with Fitness Together Tysons in early 2010, becoming an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AAFA) Certified Personal Trainer. She is certified by the American Senior Fitness Association as a senior personal trainer, and she is also a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She enjoys working with the baby boomer/senior population because of how fitness can impact their health. To learn more about Fitness Together Tysons, visit http://fitnesstogether.com/tysons or call 703.289.9909