Whilst every woman must go through menopause, the intensity of the symptoms will vary from woman to woman – and can be influenced by a healthy lifestyle.
You may have heard horror stories of hot flushes that feel like you are on fire and night sweats that drench the bed. But, the reality is only about 30% of women experience severe symptoms of menopause. The rest chug on through this life transition with only mild discomfort, especially if they exercise. And you don’t have to wait until menopause starts to get started. Build up exercise credits in the bank now and you’ll be a step ahead in reaping the benefits.
Research shows that just a 10% reduction in weight can alleviate the symptoms of menopause. If there weren’t already enough reasons to watch your weight, from wearing your favourite jeans, to preventing diabetes, here is one more.
Furthermore, a redistribution of fat tends to occur with menopause. The fat from your bum and thighs moves north to settle on your midriff. As extra abdominal fat increases your risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease, this is not a change you want to take lying down. Try to keep your measurement at the navel to around half that of your height in centimetres.
For the first half of life men are at greater risk than women of cardiovascular disease, but with the exit of oestrogen and its magical affects, women scoot on past to have 4 times greater risk of heart disease post menopause. Keeping your heart muscle strong and your arteries and veins functioning properly via regular cardiovascular exercise is a must. So, jot down huff and puff on your weekly To Do list.
Oestrogen is also the vital hormone that has protected your bones thus far in life. As levels of oestrogen diminish your bones become susceptible to osteoporosis. Whilst a healthy dose of calcium and vitamin D helps, it is resistance exercise that can increase your bone density, thereby preventing, halting and even reversing osteoporosis.
The effect of your muscles pulling on your bones as they move encourages your bones to lay down calcium, so they are better able to cope with this pressure on them in the future. The result is stronger bones. Common problem areas are the spine and pelvis. You could also have a bone scan to pinpoint any particular areas of risk in your body.
What better time is there to tap into the feel good factor of fitness. With physical change and discomfort comes mental challenge. Menopause is a time of significant transition. It is far easier to let go of what has passed and embrace what is to come, if you are feeling strong, confident, positive, attractive and physically well.