Menopause is not the end of the world, even though some people may think so. Yes, your body changes with time, and around your 50s, you will have a new beginning. You probably won’t be as strong as before, your mood will change rapidly, and your hormonal levels will drop. However, that happens to every woman, and with the help of several things, you can deal with that.
While in some cases, a doctor’s advice is necessary for getting through menopause, very often, it will be enough to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Physical activity is essential to keep fit and healthy during menopause – it helps you slim down, strengthens your bones, and boosts your mood. Do you want to learn more about the benefits of exercise during this period of your life? Read on:
It Helps You Lose Weight
There are plenty of reasons to lose weight during menopause – it optimizes your hormone levels, reduces soreness and fatigue, and increases your self-esteem. Research shows that exercising during this period of life can help you lose weight by burning fat faster and improving your metabolic rate.
In an experiment conducted at Duke Medical Center, women who participated in a 12-week exercise program lost an average of 7 pounds and managed to maintain their weight after the end of the program. The researchers believe that regular workouts have controlled hunger levels.
There are many other menopausal weight gain solutions that can help you look and feel better. If you don’t want to become a gym freak but still want to lose some weight, start taking long walks to reach 10.000 steps a day. It’s a pleasant physical activity that will not make you sweat.
It Improves Bone Health
The more active you are, the stronger your bones will be. The decline in estrogen levels during menopause makes our bones more susceptible to fractures, especially those who experience osteoporosis. Exercising is a great way to strengthen them naturally – it improves bone density, boosts bone formation, and prevents age-related loss of muscle mass. In fact, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, older women who exercise regularly can lower their risk of hip fracture by 49 percent and the risk of vertebral fracture by 46 percent.
Just like other muscles in your body, bones tend to weaken as you get older. You may have noticed that your bones are not as strong and flexible as before – that’s an obvious sign of osteoporosis. It’s caused by low estrogen levels, whereas exercising regularly can prevent osteoporosis and strengthen your bones.
Increases Your Energy Levels
As menopause progresses, your energy levels go down, and you start feeling tired and weak. Exercising regularly helps you feel more energetic and improve your mood, so you will feel better about yourself.
Improves Your Mood
If you’re feeling low during menopause, a good way to get out of that rut is to exercise. Physical activity will boost your mood and make you feel better about yourself. It also reduces anxiety and stress levels, which are very common at this point in a woman’s life.
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, aerobic activity reduces depressive symptoms in women aged between 50 and 65. Similarly, a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests that moderate aerobic exercise is associated with reduced depression levels after menopause.
Improves Your Posture
When you’re getting older, your posture tends to deteriorate. It happens because of weight gain and hormonal changes, which make your spine weaker and cause back pain. Regular workouts will improve your posture and help you stay fit and healthy throughout menopause.
Reduces Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is another common condition among postmenopausal women, and it’s caused by the lack of estrogen – the hormone that helps you maintain healthy joints. The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain, stiffness, a limited range of motion, and reduced mobility. Exercising regularly can help reduce these symptoms thanks to the strengthening effect it has on the bones and muscles.
Boosts Your Sex Drive
You probably know that menopause is linked with a change in sexual desire, but did you know that exercising can help? That’s right – physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural chemicals that reduce stress and improve mood. As a result, you will feel more relaxed and cheerful, so your libido will recover as well.
A study published in the journal Menopause reports that women who engage in regular physical activity report higher sexual satisfaction scores compared to those who don’t exercise – 51 points versus 40 points on a 100-point scale. Exercise also helps reduce vaginal dryness and painful intercourse – another reason why your sex life may improve significantly after hitting 50.
Boosts Your Self-esteem
Exercise can help you lose weight, gain muscle tone, and improve your overall appearance. As a result, you’ll feel more confident about yourself and look younger than before. When you feel good about yourself, you’ll have a positive attitude towards life, which will further improve your mental health.
In fact, according to research published in the Journal of Women’s Health, physical activity can increase women’s self-confidence by 74 percent!
Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is one of the main reasons why women die prematurely. It’s usually the result of other health issues, such as obesity and diabetes, but it can be prevented and treated early on if you stay fit. Exercising regularly raises your HDL (good) cholesterol levels and lowers the ratio of LDL (bad) to HDL. The latter is a key component that decides whether or not you will develop heart disease.
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, aerobic exercise during menopause helps reduce the risk of heart disease by 24 percent, and high-intensity training decreases that risk by up to a whopping 61 percent.
It Reduces Painful Symptoms
Menopause is not just about hot flashes and mood swings – many women also suffer from various physical symptoms caused by hormonal changes. While most of them are short-term and subside over time, some women develop chronic conditions, such as vulvodynia (severe pain in the vagina), atrophic vaginitis (vaginal dryness), and bladder pain syndrome (severe pelvic pain accompanied by painful urination). Studies demonstrate that physical activity is a great way to relieve these symptoms – it can reduce the severity of hot flashes by up to 34 percent, general pain by up to 34 percent, and urinary frequency by up to 39 percent.
The Bottom Line
After menopause, exercising can help you regain strength and endurance. As a result, you can enjoy a long list of benefits: better sleep quality, improved mood, increased energy levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and much more.
As you get older, it’s harder to keep up with your workout routine. However, you should never give up on exercising – it’s one of the best things you can do for your health. Even if you start feeling weaker and less energetic than before, you should not give up on physical activity. After all, you should always ensure good physical condition and high quality of life!