Menopause is the perfect time for an activity reset
Every woman will experience menopause differently. For some, there is barely any change, but for others, there is hot flushes, night-time sweats, irritability…the list goes on.
The good news is that women can use this natural transition to their advantage, by re-evaluating their lifestyle choices and making changes – for example, re-engaging with physical activity to ensure a healthy, happier next phase.
Being active, especially through menopause has been shown to:
- help you cope better with menopausal symptoms
- help prevent weight gain associated with hormonal changes
- help stabilise your mood and reduce the risk of depression
- decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer
- support bone health, reduce the risk of osteoporosis and associated bone fractures
For those already active, this is the ideal time to support some of your less active friends. Inviting them for a walk, shopping trip, or joining a yoga or dance class together, helps you maintain your habits while encouraging others to get moving.
For those less active, see this time as a new beginning; an opportunity to take control of your menopausal symptoms, improve your general health and embed positive long-term habits into your life.
This all sounds good, but HOW do I do it?
1. Start small
No need for a 10km run. Make small changes – even adding 10 minutes of light activity, initially, and you will see results. Incorporate it into your existing lifestyle. Park your car slightly further away. Combine watching your child’s sport with laps of the oval, park or court.
Do something you enjoy. Don’t run If you don’t like it. Walk with friends instead. Love to dance? Join a class. Netball’s your thing? Find a local club. Bike riding? Join a cycling group such as ‘Wheel Women’. A lack of confidence in your skill or fitness level need not be a barrier. Most sports have modified versions or don’t require a full-season commitment.
3. Plan to be active
Research shows that those who plan their activity are more likely to keep active. Put a weekly schedule on the fridge and when you see an opportunity to be active, write it down and make it part of your week – especially with friends.
4. Set small, achievable goals
Set a few small, realistic, specific goals. Swap ‘I promise to be more active’ for ‘I will go to yoga on Saturday’.
5. Break time up
To gain the best health benefits, women should huff and puff for around 30-40 minutes per day. This may seem a lot, and thus less daunting if broken into 10-minute blocks. Remember, though, every movement counts. Try a lunchtime stroll with a colleague, or a walking meeting.
6. Don’t just think ‘cardio’
Strength and flexibility are important, too. Consider activities such as yoga, Pilates and gym-based weight programs – do what works for you.
So, when you think ‘I have no time in my day’ or ‘I’m too exhausted’, consider this: active women report feeling more empowered to take control of their life, are able to manage their menopausal symptoms more easily, think more clearly and have better overall health.
Make time. Go on. You’ll be glad you did.
References: Wheel Women Australia: https://www.wheelwomenaustralia.com/about-us
Last updated: November 10, 2021 at: 11:11 am