October 18th, 2018 is World Menopause Day.

I have been coaching and working with women in menopause and peri-menopause since I first became a Personal Trainer and have accumulated a fair bit of knowledge along the way.  This is also down to the fact that I am older than the average Personal Trainer in the industry and I myself am now in peri-menopause.

Every woman will experience this part of her life differently, some with barely noticeable symptoms some feeling quite incapacitated at times.

I recently found my higher anxiety levels and mood swings hardest to deal with, I have gotten used to the fact that I forget where I put my water bottle/diary etc around the gym 😉

Why is exercise so important at this stage in our lives?

  • Exercise has over and over been shown to help with anxiety and mood disorders (mild depression), so common in peri-menopause and menopause.
  • Exercise, especially strength training decreases the loss of bone density, which occurs naturally as estrogen decreases.
  • Exercise decreases the loss of muscle mass, which again occurs quite naturally as we get older
  • You will stay independent and active for longer and strength training specifically has been shown to decrease the risk of developing dementia.
  • Strength training will build muscle which will help your metabolism to stay more active (again as we get older the metabolism does shift down a bit)
  • Regular movement & exercising keeps those sometimes achier joints from hurting even more. It is important to move to keep the joints healthy (not that you necessarily need to run a marathon;))

A few caveats

  • If you suffer from severe hotflashes an intense bootcamp/ high intensity training has been shown to increase your symptoms
  • If you have a number of menopause symptoms and a stressful job or family life your cortisol levels will be elevated already, most likely chronically, long distance running or endurance training may not be the best option for you (as they add more chronic stress). Keep runs to less than an hour and get plenty of recovery days. High cortisol levels unbalance estrogen and progesterone and worsen symptoms potentially.

Don’t ever think it’s too late to start exercising, you will benefit from it enormously no matter what your fitness background is. Whilst some exercises or training may be more beneficial than others, make sure you do something you enjoy.

If unsure how to get started look out for a coach/Personal Trainer who understands about menopause/perimenopause . Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. A couple of sessions may get you started on the way to a new and healthier you. Learn to listen to your body and do what works for you.

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