Exercise for Menopause

Menopause is something to think about in the future or for some of us, sooner than later. If you are having hot flashes and night sweats, exercise really helps a lot. There was a event study done that found that menopausal women who exercise experience fewer hot flashes in the 24 hours following their workout. Exercise has a positive effect on sleep quality, insomnia, and depression in perimenopausal and menopausal women. These women sleep better, are in a better mood, and have a better quality of life. An increase in body fat (which occurs naturally after menopause) leads to poor sleep, saps energy, brings down moods, and can lower your self-esteem. This body fat is commonly belly fat. As belly fat increases, energy decreases and hot flashes, night sweats and sleep disturbances increase. As belly fat increases, so does insulin resistance -- and this can cause cravings for carbohydrates and more menopausal weight gain. If a patient has a high BMI and body fat percentage, her risk of snoring and sleep apnea increases, adding another reason for poor sleep, low energy, and hot flashes." Ready to dust off those shoes and get started right for the New Year? Here's how to boost your body for good:

1. Set the Right Expectations Exercise can initially increase hot flashes by increasing body temperature -- especially in women who are overweight. Fortunately, such hot flashes improve as body fat is lost. So, if you expect yourself to jump right back into your workout where you left off without any changes in performance, you are setting yourself up for (possibly workout-ending) disappointment. Don't worry; you'll get there. Just remember that slow and steady wins the get-fit race. In the meantime, stay hydrated and focusing on big, full belly breaths to lessen exercise-induced hot flashes. 2. Have Fun The best form of exercise is the one that you will actually do! So find a workout -- or a variety of workouts -- that you love! Women are more likely to stick to a regimen if they have a workout buddy and if they actually enjoy the activity. Who motivates you? Consider exercising with your friends, family members or even your coworkers at lunch. It can be a great way to infuse some fun into your workout routine and make it feel like a little less work. If fitness-loving friends are in short supply, try joining an online Fitness Group or taking exercise classes where you can meet other health-minded women and get the support you deserve. Who knows, you might just make a lifelong friend while you're at it! 3. Hit the Big 3 Exercise has three components: aerobic activity, strength training, and stretching. For the best results, women need a balance of all three. Stretching helps avoid injury and improves performance; strength training helps avoid injury, keeps bones strong, and significantly helps weight control; aerobic activity improves fitness and heart health as well as burns calories and helps maintain a healthy weight. Each week you should get in one long cardio workout, two shorter interval workouts (think: a brisk walk with quick bursts throughout) and three strength-training workouts. 4. Play It Safe Anyone starting a new or more strenuous exercise regimen should consult their physician in case risk factors for heart disease are significant enough to require a stress test first. Also, if you have any existing injuries or conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis, discuss them with your physician before you hit the gym. While they're certainly no excuse to skip the gym (exercise can actually improve many aches and pains!), you need to tailor your workout to fit your body's limitations. 5. Get Some Help Hire a trainer or join one of our online Fitness Groups. We will guide you in the right direction with workouts and a nutrition plan taylor-made just for you to meet your goals and kick off a healthy start! *Register here if you'd like more info on our Fitness Plan: http://goo.gl/forms/vh4e7wFnhv

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