By: Guest Author
Published: February 21, 2023
Written by Ainsley Lawrence- Guest Contributor
Menopause is an inevitable aspect of life as a woman. It doesn’t always occur at the same time for everyone, but it always arrives. It also tends to be a particularly difficult period for many people. This isn’t just because of the social, physical, and emotional elements of the process. But also there isn’t always sufficient information about how to navigate menopause in a mind- and body-positive way.
One approach that both women and health professionals tend to agree on is that regular exercise can help. By staying active throughout menopause, you can find that your experience is more empowering and healthy than a more sedentary approach. It’s certainly not easy to maintain an exercise routine, but the difference it makes is well worth your efforts.
We’re going to dive a little deeper into this concept, exploring the benefits of staying active throughout menopause and how you can best approach this in your own life.
Improved Physical Health
You’ll find that there are influencers and online commentators suggesting that physical exercise has an impact on menopause symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no reliable evidence to support how exercise influences elements such as hot flashes. That said, menopause does tend to put your body under significant strain. This can lead to health issues that a regular commitment to staying active can help to address.
One area in which this is evident is with regard to your heart health and blood pressure. Regular exercise can increase your cardiorespiratory function. Adopting the correct types of exercise during and beyond menopause may reduce the metabolic risks that can arise when estrogen levels decline.
It’s also not unusual to experience bone density loss as a result of menopause. In some instances, exercise can slow down this process and preserve bone tissue. This tends to put you at a reduced risk of experiencing osteoporosis and fractures as you age.
You may also find that your menopause symptoms can make it easy to drift into a more sedentary way of life. This, alongside hormonal changes and age, can put you at greater risk of developing varicose veins. Staying active can help you minimize the potential for this condition by improving your circulation and keeping your weight down. Activities like walking, yoga, swimming, and other low-impact exercises are a great way to stay active and combat some of these negative symptoms associated with menopause.
Better Mental Wellness
There are various factors that can disrupt your mental health throughout menopause. The shifts in hormones can influence sudden mood changes. Depression is also a common experience for women, both as a result of chemical changes and what they feel this period represents in their lives. Even the frustration from medical professionals who don’t take patients’ concerns about menopause seriously can have a negative mental impact.
As such, staying active can be an invaluable tool to maintain your mental wellness. It doesn’t necessarily impact the hormonal changes that directly influence your moods. However, exercising is linked to alleviating some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Regular activity releases endorphins and can reduce the tendency to dwell on issues that you find frustrating.
Many women also experience “brain fog” during menopause. This usually takes the form of frustrating forgetfulness and disrupted focus. Exercise can be a powerful tool to address this issue. Regular physical activity boosts brain health by reducing the potential for cognitive decline. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can be enough to improve your brain functions.
That said, menopause mental health symptoms can make it a struggle to find the motivation to exercise consistently. It’s worth finding techniques and resources that can give you a boost here. Exercising with friends can make exercising more pleasant and social. Keeping a diary of your activities with goals to meet and beat can be effective, too. Even something as simple as finding the right positive music to accompany your efforts tends to make a difference.
Let’s face it, menopause is not exactly renowned for being a time of high self-esteem. It can feel very much like this is a milestone that marks the end of your youth. Intellectually, you know that it doesn’t make you any less vibrant or vital. But this doesn’t always make it any easier to navigate the loss of confidence you experience. Fortunately, staying active can help provide a boost in this regard.
In a purely physical sense, regular exercise can give you some control over your appearance. You can reduce potential weight gain during menopause and incorporate more targeted activities that can help you tone specific muscle areas you may be concerned about. It also increases blood flow which can help nourish your skin cells, improving the vitality of your appearance.
Mentally, the act of regular exercise helps you to feel more empowered at a time when it can feel as though your body is not your own. You’re taking assertive steps to feel and look fantastic. Not to mention that the socializing element of working out with friends helps each of you feel more supported and confident.
Nevertheless, it’s also important that you feel confident while you’re exercising, so you don’t lose motivation. This is particularly relevant in a public space, such as a gym. If you need to wear glasses, the strenuous activity could fog up your lenses or cause them to fall off. Fitting a glasses strap and packing a cloth can mitigate this. However, it may be worth considering LASIK or other corrective vision surgeries so you don’t have to rely on glasses while working out. Not to mention that this allows you to focus on activities that help you feel good rather than navigating practical difficulties.
Staying active during menopause can have a positive impact on your holistic wellness. Physically, it can reduce the health risks associated with hormonal changes and aging. From a mental perspective, your actions can minimize depression and improve cognitive functions. It’s also worth considering that being healthy also tends to boost confidence. While there’s no avoiding menopause completely, exercise can help you navigate it in a positive and empowered way.
BIO: Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She is interested in better living through technology and education. She loves traveling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a mystery podcast.
The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.