Recently I’ve noticed that, quite abruptly, I can no longer run very fast, I’ve put on a few kilos which I can’t shift, and walking up hill gets me puffing all too soon. Some of my friends and clients are experiencing similar symptoms of the menopause, many much worse than mine. Although it’s obvious we women will go through this, expect it and accept it, it can be hard to take, especially when the bad news is that it may go for ten years or more.
Getting unreasonably angry, feeling sad, not sleeping and feeling fatigue are just a few of the things that happen when oestrogen levels start to drop. The unsurprising news is that exercise can help lessen them.
Weight training and weight bearing exercise significantly reduces bone loss.
Regular cardiovascular exercise produces favourable effects on total cholesterol levels and helps decrease body fat, which in turn lowers risk of heart disease, which rises in menopause.
Increasing oestrogen levels is key to decreasing secondary symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and mood swings. Exercise appears to increase oestrogen levels and could reduce the need for HRT.
Exercise can offset sleep loss associated with menopause by improving sleep quality after physical activity.
So, although when you are feeling moody you may not relish the thought of exercise, making the commitment and scheduling the time to take regular walks / runs and do some resistance exercise should really help you feel better. Not all women will suffer bothersome symptoms but for those that do – don your trainers, embrace the outdoors, push your heart rate up and experience the mood-lifting pleasure of raised endorphins.