This is a question I am often asked.
I have clients of all ages, and most have experienced some form of push towards pursuing a healthier lifestyle. For some it is a new year’s resolution, for others an important event where they want to look and feel their best. A few may even have had a health scare which has made them rethink their overall fitness.
The arrival of the Menopause heralds a new life chapter and this in itself can be a real catalyst for lifestyle change. What’s more, the symptoms which many women suffer can be very unpleasant, and this results in a search for non-medical methods of relief – exercise being one of the most common to be explored.
Can Menopausal symptoms be reduced by working out?
Yes and no.
Exercise doesn’t actually offer anything in the way of a ‘cure’ but instead offers a tried and tested way of coping with the more frustrating symptoms and easing the transition through this time of significant change.
A carefully constructed training plan can help Menopausal clients in a number of ways.
Training through the menopause can: -
- Control weight gain
- Maintain muscle mass
- Relieve stress
- Enhance feelings of wellbeing
- Counter the increased risk of Osteoporosis
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
Weight gain and a reduction in muscle mass are two of the most commonly experienced, and definitely unwelcomed, post-menopausal symptoms. Both can be successfully managed by a regular, planned exercise regime and are, in fact, goals for most people undertaking personal training, regardless of gender or life stage.
Stress reduction and improvements in wellbeing are known benefits of exercising, thanks in part to the lovely mood-enhancing endorphins which are produced by the body as it gets its fitness fix. A lift of spirit may not seem like a blockbuster of a benefit however, for those experiencing the mood swings which can come result from a drop in Oestrogen levels, this can be a hugely positive thing!
The other unwelcomed effects of lower Oestrogen levels are an increased risk of Osteoporosis (as Oestrogen is essential in the process of laying down bone) and an increased risk of heart disease. Once again, targeted training can assist, offsetting the risks with an element of strength training for bone health and cardio workouts to boost and maintain good heart health.
Insert your own personalisation
The menopause can be a time where you feel like you have lost control of your body (not to mention your emotions) and it is therefore essential to reclaim as much back for yourself as you possibly can.
My approach is to offer my clients the right level of resistance and aerobic exercise within their personally-tailored programmes to counteract the physical aspects they will experience (notably the weight gain and reduction in muscle mass) and then incorporate as much ‘highs’ as possible to counteract mood fluctuations.
That means focussing on the workouts which will get the fell-good hormones flowing and making sure that there’s always an element of fun in the fitness. If dancing is your thing then it’s in there – it’s Personal Training after all.
Even hot flushes and extreme fatigue can be at least partly addressed in a personal plan by including yoga, controlled breathing exercises and meditation. Whilst these may not be a ‘cure all’ solution, they provided just one more tool within the Menopause-surviving armoury.
If you have concerns linked to the Menopause, or indeed any other health issues, arrange for a free personal consultation to explore how exercise can offer long-term support for your body and mind.