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Does Exercise Help Menopause?

Proper exercise is one of the most powerful tools we can practice to keep our bodies strong and healthy. But does exercise help menopause? Yes, exercise helps menopausal women encounter the changes their bodies undergo in this period.

Menopause is the time that tells you that your menstrual cycle has ended. After you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period, you can be diagnosed with menopause. Menopause, being a stage of life for women, may require a new perspective on their health and well-being.

Regular exercise is a foundation for effective management of menopausal symptoms. Exercise helps to reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms and supports overall physiological and psychological changes. A third of the average woman’s lifespan is lived beyond the menopause. Every woman experiences menopause differently. Let’s learn about this natural biological process and determine how exercise can help.

How Does Exercise Help Menopause?

Are you in your 40s and already facing some menopausal symptoms? The benefits of exercise in your premenopausal and postmenopausal periods are numerous, so make sure to perform exercise regularly and safely. Here, I present some significant ways in which exercise can help menopause.

Physiological Gain

Physiological gains may include :

Muscle Building

We all know our metabolism slows down with age, so evidently, in the menopausal period – one reason for this can be muscle loss called muscle atrophy. 

Muscle tends to burn more calories than fat, so if you don’t care for muscle, you’re more likely to get bulky – which can lead to osteoporosis and arthritis, among other health risks.

According to research done by NCBI,  adults tend to lose about 3 to 8% of muscle mass every decade after age 30—a loss that accelerates to 5 to 10% after age 50.

For women, this loss is vigorous, particularly around the menopause transition. You can lose 10% of your muscle mass during perimenopause alone, and postmenopausal women are more likely to have involuntary muscle loss than premenopausal women.

Yet you can help avoid this through regular physical exercise. Combine cardio and strength training to help burn fat and boost metabolism, avoiding menopausal weight gain.

Bones Strengthening

As your estrogen levels drop rapidly in menopause, your risk of osteoporosis rises. Estrogen is necessary to help produce and shelter your bones. You can’t stop menopause; what you can do is stay active.

Weight training or resistance exercise can help strengthen your bones if you’re younger or in perimenopause. If you’re older or in postmenopause, exercises targeting your joints, like walking, running, and jogging, are suitable for your bones and healthy heart. Nevertheless, strength training is vital – not only to strengthen your muscles but also to increase bone density, helping to reduce the risk of injuries from weak bones.

Ensuring Heart Health

Are you in your 50s? It’s time to care for your heart a little more. Fat may build up in your arteries when estrogen levels fall, making them relatively narrower. Narrower arteries develop a risk of coronary heart disease, like a heart attack or stroke.

Menopause can also cause additional changes in your body that increase your risk of coronary heart disease. Regular cardio exercise is a must to improve your heart health. You can also choose any exercise you enjoy, like walking, swimming, etc.

Maintaining Healthy Weight

At menopause, weight gain is typical in women, mainly around the abdomen. Declining estrogen levels and age-related muscle and tissue loss are responsible for this weight gain. An inactive lifestyle, poor diet, and lack of exercise intensify the problem. Regular strength training and exercise can solve your weight-related issues. Exercise can increase metabolism. It can also help you retain and improve lean body mass, which helps raise the number of calories you burn daily.

Reducing Breast Cancer Risk

Women who are going through menopause, especially after the age of 55, have a high risk of breast cancer and endometrial cancer. The reason for this risk is that women are exposed to more estrogen at this age. Regular physical exercise can lower your risk of developing certain types of cancers. Research shows women who engage in regular exercise have a 10%-20% lower risk of falling victim to breast cancer than women who lead a sedentary life.

The reason behind this can be that being active reduces blood estrogen levels. Women with lower estrogen levels have a declined risk of cancers, especially breast cancer, than women with higher levels of estrogen. And exercise can boost the body’s immune system to prevent or slow cancer growth.

Psychological Advantages

Apart from the physiological gains, exercise helps menopause psychologically. Here’s how:

Relieving Menopausal Insomnia

Are you having trouble sleeping soundly? You’re not alone. Sleep disturbances, including insomnia, are widespread, especially in women after menopause. According to National Institutes of Health data, sleep disturbance ranges from 16% to 42% in premenopause, 39% to 47% during perimenopause, and 35% to 60% in postmenopause.

Regular exercise may support you with better sleep patterns. It can also help you with falling asleep more quickly. Along with other practices, such as avoiding caffeine and electronics before bed, regular exercise during the day is a part of good sleep hygiene.

Depression And Anxiety Management

Menopausal symptoms are a lot to take, aren’t they? The hormonal changes during menopause may affect your mental health. Exercise produces feel-good endorphins that can lower stress. Regular exercise can enhance your mood and help people with mild to moderate depression. Any exercise is beneficial if it goes with your health conditions. Again, thinking about something else instead of worrying can help you out of the cycle of negative thoughts that promote depression and anxiety.

The Impact of Exercise on Menopause Symptoms

As menopause indicates the end of a woman’s reproductive years, the period before (perimenopause) and after (postmenopause) have their share of signs and symptoms. Here, I’ll clarify how exercise works on specific menopause symptoms.

Hot Flashes

A hot flash is an unanticipated warmth spreading through your neck, chest and face. It’s a common symptom of menopause. Strength training and resistance exercises that raise your heart rate and make you hot and sweaty may significantly reduce the number and force of hot flashes.

Headaches And Migraines

If you’re suffering from menopausal migraine attacks, you’d be happy to know that moderate exercise may reduce the frequency and acuteness of migraine attacks. Studies show that regular exercise can even be beneficial for preventing migraine.

Dry And Itchy Skin

Your body’s oxygen levels increase while exercising. Increased oxygen helps to prevent menopause-induced dryness and itchy skin and improves overall elasticity. Again, Exercise aids in flushing out toxins and gives you healthy skin.

Vaginal Discomfort

Kegel exercises help maintain a strong pelvic floor and improve vaginal health. Exercise promotes the release of necessary hormones, which may help ease vaginal dryness and irritation during menopause.

Reduced Sex Drive

Some exercises, like aerobic exercise, increase blood flow to the genitals, which can improve your sex drive in menopause. Cardio exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety to help you have a better sex life in menopause.

Which Exercises Help Menopause?

Regular exercise is helpful during menopause and beyond when osteoporosis and weight gain risk increase. It would help if you focused on exercises that help build muscle and bone density. Which exercise should you start with? Below are the different forms of exercise you can do – it’s a good deal to include various types of exercise in your exercise routine to reap the most benefits and keep things interesting.

If you aren’t currently active, you can start with two to three days of exercise per week at 30 minutes a session and build your time up to 45–60 minutes per session gradually. Warm up and stretch before any exercise to prepare your body for exercise and reduce the risk of injury. does exercise help menopause

Strength And Resistance Training Exercise

does exercise help menopause
does exercise help menopause

Strength training exercises may include lifting free weights and use of machine weights. In contrast, TRX (total body resistance exercise) may use gym bands and bodyweight exercises. Tag along to learn more about crucial strength training exercises and how to do them.

High-Impact Cardio

Jogging, running, and sports like tennis and football are great forms of high-impact cardio exercise. But you have to keep in mind that this age comes with osteoporosis and low bone density diseases, making you vulnerable to injuries. So, take advice from your doctor before adding high-impact exercise to your routine. does exercise help menopause

Low-Impact Cardio

These exercises are appropriate for individuals who medically should not perform high-impact aerobic exercise. Some examples include walking, using the cross trainer and stair machine, and moderate-level aerobics.

Non-Weight-Bearing Exercise

Simple exercises like cycling, swimming, yoga, and tai chi should be incorporated weekly into your exercise schedule. These activities can’t strengthen your muscles and bones as fast as strength training, but they can benefit your posture and support your mental health.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

Pelvic floor muscles are the muscles underneath your pelvis and control your bladder and bowels. They’re also responsible for sexual pleasure and support your pelvis. During the menopausal period, we lose muscle in our body, including the pelvic floor muscles. Raising the strength and function of these muscles can help with urinary symptoms, reduce irritation, and may help or prevent symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse. Exercises such as yoga, aerobics and pilates can help strengthen the pelvic floor.

Again, exercises for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women may be categorized into :

Gym Based Exercise

Before diving into your preferred exercise, constantly invest 10 minutes to warm up by doing stretches to target your muscles and joints. Even 10 minutes of simple warm-up moves will increase your heart rate and prepare you for intense exercises. Examples of gym-based exercises may include:

Lateral Pull-Down Machine

Lateral pull-down is a gym-based workout targeting your back muscles. It is an easy pulling exercise that works the lats, biceps, and more. To carry out this exercise, sit comfortably on the machine seat, keeping your legs on the floor. Check the height of the handle, as you might need to adjust it. Pull the hanging bar or handles to chin height and slowly back it up to the top. This exercise may be done as a part of an upper-body building workout.

Beginners should start with light weights to make sure they use the correct form. Back pain, which is a common menopausal symptom, can be relieved with this exercise.

Bench Press

The bench press is a fundamental exercise that works on your chest, shoulders, and triceps. It is one of the best exercises for building muscle and improving strength, making it a salient part of your menopause workout routine. It is also a gym-based workout. Bench press exercises can be done with dumbbells or using a bar.

Dumbbells help with balance through the joints, while a bar is suitable for all-around strength – so start with lighter dumbbells and gradually work up to the bar. The bench press is a very adaptable exercise that engages many muscles and works the opposite muscles in the lateral pull-down machine.

Safety Cue:

Specific techniques must be followed to avoid injury and gain maximum results. It will help if you carefully use the correct grip, replace your hands promptly and maintain the proper position under the bar.

Leg Press

The leg press is a famous gym equipment exercise that significantly strengthens essential leg muscles. A leg press exercise can be done in two ways- a horizontal leg press, the standard version of this exercise, and the inclined leg press. During the inclined leg press exercise, you’ll have to sit at an angle and press your legs diagonally upward.

The leg press requires the true strength of the lower body while supporting the back safely against the seat. Regular training with the leg press leads to muscle gains in the body’s largest muscles. The leg press also works with flexibility, mobility, and overall physical fitness, which you need most in your menopausal years.

Safety Cue:

Maintaining appropriate techniques throughout the leg press exercise is essential to avoid the risk of knee pain and injury. Ensuring a neutral spine, preventing hyperextension of knees, and maintaining proper alignment of the knees with the toes are some techniques.

Seated Row

Seated rows are essential to your menopausal workout routine because they target the main areas that need attention, like your back, arms, and core muscles. It’s also an evident warm-up tool for your core. The seated row is also an excellent exercise for having better posture.

Seated rows can initially be done in a rowing machine. It can help to strengthen and preserve bone density.

Safety Cue:

While doing the seated row, you must ensure that your back remains straight. Avoid hunching your shoulders when extending your arms. Maintain a neutral lower back and keep your torso still. Avoid doing seated row exercises if you have a shoulder injury or pain.

Home Based Exercise

Are you overwhelmed with all these gym workouts, and you don’t have any time for the gym? Don’t worry, Dear! Here, I’ll provide home-based workout options.

The squat

We all know squats, right? Squats are considered the best full-body exercise. The squat is one of the most desirable exercises to increase muscle strength and bone density while making your hips more flexible. It engages several calves, thighs, abs, arms, and lower back muscles. Squats render you benefits such as stamina, posture, cardiovascular health, balance, and joint strength, which you need most in menopausal times.

You can pull up a bar on your back; a TRX or dumbbell is also acceptable. Stand straight, making both feet hip-width apart. Inhale and brace your stomach muscles. Lower down, like you’re sitting in a chair. Straighten your legs to lift back straight up, with no bending of the knees. does exercise help menopause

Safety Cue:

Avoid leaning forward and keep the back straight as possible throughout the movement. Don’t let your knees get close together. Not doing this may strain your hips and knees excessively and cause injuries. does exercise help menopause

Shoulder Press

The shoulder press is an upper-body exercise focusing on the deltoids, trapezoids, and triceps. It’s an excellent activity for beginners as it improves overall body strength and carriage. Regularly doing shoulder presses keeps osteoporosis at bay, making it a favorite exercise for menopausal women.

This exercise can be done at home using simple equipment like dumbbells, elastic gym bands, a bar, or even using only body weight. Stand straight with both feet hip-width apart. Exhale as you raise the weights above your head. Make a brief pause at the top position. Inhale and return the weights to your shoulders. Repeat 7-8 times.

Safety Cue:

Be careful about leaning excessively forward, and keep your back throughout the movement. Make sure not to hyperextend your lower back.

Mountain Climbers On A Chair

You must’ve heard about the HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) Exercise. Mountain climbing on a chair is a popular HIIT exercise beneficial for menopausal women as your shoulder, chest, and abdominal muscles work together in this form of exercise.

Keep your hands shoulder-width apart, abs engaged, back straight, and head aligned. Pull your right knee close to the chest as far as possible. Switch your legs and do the same.

Safety Cue:

Don’t lean forward; keep your back straight throughout the movement. Do not hyperextend your back. Remember to use an exercise mat to prevent slipping.

Overhead Tricep Extensions

The overhead tricep extension is an excellent exercise to work the triceps and retain the stability of your shoulders and core. Fold your elbows and lower the weight behind your head. At the lowest point, extend your elbows and push the weight back overhead.

Safety Cue:

Try To avoid overreaching your form. Do not bend your head forward.

Menopause lessens your estrogen levels, and as your body heats up, you may experience hot flashes. Your body becomes more sensitive to changes in temperature, so a proper cool-down involving stretches can bring the heart rate back to normal and help reduce the body’s temperature.

How Often Should You Exercise During Menopause?

If you’re concerned about how often to exercise, here are some recommendations. Even if you weren’t active earlier, you should start an exercise routine in your menopausal period. Beginning a workout routine may help ease some of the problems caused by menopause.

National Institute Of Health recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly exercise for menopausal women.

This exercise routine should combine a mix of cardiovascular exercise with at least two to three strength-building exercise sessions. You can divide it into 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Movement snacking is a usable concept here. You have to stay active during the day, even working in your kitchen or doing a desk job.

Final Words

The female body has its own unique life story, and it endures changes throughout the journey. Menopause is a stage of this journey we have to admit and accept. If you’ve come this far with me, you already know how to do that and how exercise may help you. So, Let’s manage menopause with grace!


Can I Do The Same Exercises in the Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Periods?

Yes, indeed you can. Just at a relatively moderate level in your postmenopausal period as your body gets vulnerable to age-related conditions.

What Is The Best Sleep Aid For Menopause?

Prescription medicines, like benzodiazepines; OTC supplements, like melatonin; Therapy, like HRT; and healthy sleeping habits may be helpful.

How Can I Get Relieved From Pelvic Floor Discomforts?

You can go for topical estrogen and HRT therapy, use vaginal lubricants, stop smoking, and focus on pelvic floor muscle exercises.

How Can I Support My Partner Through Menopause?

You can be understanding and patient about the changes occurring to her body and mind. Care for her emotional well-being by encouraging acceptance.






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