Exercise in the Menopausal Years

The cessation of menses is known as Menopause.  The average age of this unavoidable stage in a woman’s life is 51.  In this stage of life many accompanying health concerns and symptoms erupt.  The health concerns associated with menopause include cardiovascular disease, bone health (osteoporosis), and mental health (depression, anxiety, etc.).  Symptoms Associated with menopause include but are not limited to skipped periods, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, headaches, mood swings, urinary inconsistencies, and weight gain.  These symptoms are thought to be due to the changing levels of estrogen resulting from a decrease in ovarian function, and the adverse affects it can create in a woman’s body. 

During this natural but difficult stage in a woman’s life, exercise plays a major role in maintaining a consistent lifestyle.  The table below explains the influence of exercise during the menopausal stage in the areas that are of the most concern.  It is imperative that a woman takes action when she is in the early stages of menopause to ensure she maintains and even increases her health in these potentially debilitating years.  An exercise professional can play a major role in conducting a woman through this stage with lifestyle interventions including exercise.  Certified professionals know and understand the physiological and psychological needs associated with menopause and can ensure a safe progression to a healthy lifestyle.

Influence of Exercise on Menopausal Symptoms

Symptoms

Effect of the Addition of Exercise

Weight Gain

Caloric expenditure helps main weight or promotes weight loss.

Abdominal Fat

Exercise decreases visceral fat independent of weight loss.

Cardiovascular Disease

Exercise improves risk factors associated with CVD including hypertension, triglycerides, LDLs, weight, waist circumference, and insulin resistance.

Bone Health

Bone loss is reduced by weight bearing and dynamic physical activity.

Mental Health

Exercise increases quality of life, decreases depression and anxiety, and enhances cognitive function

Hot Flashes

Exercise may help control mild hot flashes

Urinary Inconsistencies

Exercises can be done to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to prevent leakage.

Information provided by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

 Feel free to approach me at ART Fitness about more on this topic!

-Megan Valeski, HFS (ACSM)

  Personal Trainer, ART Fitness

 

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