Physical Activity and Menopause

We all know that physical activity at any age is beneficial, and for women during the menopause exercise carries particular additional benefits. The menopausal period is associated with many health risk factors such as osteoporosis, decreased bone density, and cardiovascular disease, to name a few. But not all forms of physical activity are equally helpful with menopause symptoms, and certain exercises can actually exacerbate symptoms such as hot flushes and insomnia. The following exercise guidelines are tailored to helping with menopause symptoms, as well as improving quality of life through the menopausal transition.

Types of Exercise
Endurance/Aerobic, like a step class or a brisk walk, will keep your heartrate elevated and promote better sleep
Strength Training, such as weightlifting or toning balls, promotes bone health
Yoga helps with hot flushes and improve cognitive function.
Modified Pilates will improve postural alignment, hip strength, balance and bone building.
Walking at a moderate intensity (60-70% Target HR; 3 to 3.5 mph) can alleviate symptoms for anxiety and depression when maintained 3x per week for a minimum of 12 weeks. Walking also helps with balance, hip strength and may attenuate bone loss.

Special Considerations
Wear breathable fabrics: keep your body core temperature at a comfortable level, since even a small elevation in core temperature can trigger hot flushes
Focus on activities that you enjoy: if you enjoy what you are doing you will stick with it consistently.
Don’t overdo it: moderate intensity exercise reaps the most benefits.

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