Menopause is a time of pronounced changes in a woman’s body. Those changes manifest themselves in numerous ways including physical, emotional and physiological. And though there is no shortage of medical treatments to moderate those changes, many of them remain unproven or controversial. There is, however, one non-medical treatment that may be effective – exercise.
How can exercise moderate the changes of menopause?
The decrease in estrogen during menopause leads to greater storage of abdominal fat. It seems logical that exercise burns calories and may preserve muscle mass, and in doing so, can help with the associated weight gain of menopause.
But exercise may also help reduce stress and improve mood changes, helping to stave off depression and sleep changes that may be an issue in some menopausal women. Exercise has positive health effects beyond those that seem obvious:
- Exercise can increase bone mass. It can slow down bone loss and help prevent osteoporosis.
- Exercise may help increase our good cholesterol (HDL) and reduces the bad (LDL). It also reduces triglycerides and fibrinogen. It may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
What types of exercise are recommended for women in and after menopause?
Both low-impact, weight-bearing exercise and resistance exercises are recommended for menopausal women. They should be done on a consistent basis, three days a week.
- Low-impact weight bearing exercises, including walking.
- Resistance exercises including using circuit machines, like those used at Curves.
Regular exercise is critical in maintaining good health during and beyond menopause. Unlike a medication that treats one symptom or ailment, exercise can work throughout the body to address multiple impacts of menopause at the same time.