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Menopause – what exercise should i be doing?

Social media is a wash with too many fitness influencers aiming to make their money saying they offer a miracle cure to certain populations, by following a miracle diet or exercise regime.

.. However it is true as fitness professionals we have to be mindful of the groups/populations we are working with.

If I’m dealing with you as a child or as a patient on one of my cardiac rehab classes or postnatally there are certain aspects that will vary, timings, exercises that will be contradictory but be it 14 or 84 there isn’t anything drastic that we need to overhaul when it comes to exercise

The basic components of fitness are

• Muscular strength the extent to which muscles can drive force

• Power – the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction

• Agility – the ability to perform a series of power movements in rapid succession

• Balance – the ability to control the body’s position

• Flexibility – the ability to achieve a extended range of movement

• Local muscle endurance a single muscles ability to perform sustained work

• Cardiovascular endurance – the hearts ability to deliver blood to working muscles and their ability to use it

• Strength endurance – a muscles ability to perform a maximum contraction time after time

• Coordination the ability to coordinate the above components so that effective movements are achieved.

The importance of each of these components will change throughout our life depending on our goals and our age but we should work on some of these components throughout our life.

Being able to build or preserve lean mass as we age is so important in order to offset the natural process of atrophy to our muscles, this is known as sarcopenia.

We also lose bone density as we age and are more prone to osteoporosis, if we fall and break our hip in our latter years for example we are at a much higher risk of death in the 12 months post break.

Strength training is something you should do throughout your life and pre post natal or pre or post menopause is no different, this helps to offset sarcopenia and osteoporosis,

A reduction in Oestrogen can lead us to have a higher risk of heart disease so exercising and walking can help to lower this risk coupled with a eating a balanced diet (see the fats article under macros)

Exercise of any kind will help you sleep as a symptom of the menopause can be difficulty sleeping

Exercise of any kind can help reduce anxiety and help improve our mental health.

Like any population guidelines (optimal) is to exercise 150 mins per week, but exercising just once per week will bring a positive return, ideally list weights/resistance at least twice per week.

As we get closer to the menopause or beyond we may notice our hip to waist ratio increase, or we feel achy joints, we can have hot flushes, general weight gain, decrease libido – exercise can help improve all of these! (too much exercise can also lower libido)

Dont think you have to push through on days you feel perhaps very lethargic due to a awful nights sleep but know that being consistent and lifting weights will help you feel bette, maintain muscle, improve your cognitive thinking, your mood, your stress levels, and your weight* *if wanting to reduce visceral (intraabdonminal fat)

Just keep swimming, don’t think you have to follow a miracle diet or a miracle exercise regime.

Include all the fruits and veggies – article on food coming soon! Keep moving, walk, run, swim, paddle board, skate, whatever you want to and do targeted exercise and you’ll be drinking the closest thing to a fountain of youth that you’ll ever get to!

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