During the menopause, it’s important to look after your physical health by staying active. This will help you to manage some of the physical and emotional changes you’ll experience as well as certain menopause symptoms. Our guide has some helpful tips for ensuring you stay fit and healthy throughout this next phase of your life.
Why is it important to keep fit during the menopause?
It prevents heart disease
The risk of developing heart disease increases as we age, so it’s important to look after your heart and circulation. Pre-menopause, the hormone oestrogen protects the arteries of your heart as well as your blood vessels by reducing the build-up of cholesterol. So – as levels decline in menopause – your risk of heart and circulatory disease can increase.
Exercise can help reduce your blood pressure and keeps cholesterol levels low so that the changes in hormone levels don’t affect the functioning of your heart.
It staves off weight gain
You may find you’re losing muscle mass and gaining fat around your middle during menopause. To help manage your weight, Government guidelines recommend doing at least 30 minutes’ moderate exercise per day, five times a week. Aerobic exercise such as running, brisk walking, cycling or swimming can help keep your weight down and your fitness levels up.
It keeps your bones strong
With menopause and the drop in oestrogen levels, you may find that you start experiencing some aches and pains in your joints and become more at risk of weaker bones due to osteoporosis.
As well as your aerobic exercise, you should aim to do a couple of sessions of weight bearing or resistance work to reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis. This could include weight machines at the gym, hand-held dumbells or even household objects such as baked bean tins. You should be able to do 12 ‘reps’ (repetitions) with the final rep being the toughest.
Stretching and balance exercises also help. You could try yoga or tai chi, which are great for relaxation as well as flexibility.
It can prevent bladder problems
Hormone changes during the menopause can cause your pelvic floor muscles to weaken, leading to stress incontinence when you cough, sneeze or laugh. Pelvic floor muscle exercises, which involve squeezing and relaxing the muscles in the pelvis can strengthen the muscle and prevent continence issues.
Exercise can boost your mental health
Exercise is key to good mental health during the menopause. Not only does it produce dopamine, the “happy chemical”, but it also boosts the brain’s ability to cope with the stress associated with menopause.
Supporting your health at Benenden Hospital
It’s important not to suffer in silence during the menopause. We’re experts at treating women’s health concerns and offer a range of private gynaecology services, including help for female continence issues, in a comfortable, discreet and reassuring environment in the heart of the Wealden countryside.
Contact our Private Patient team in confidence today by completing our online form or by calling 01580 363158.
Published on 23 June 2022