Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life, but it still comes with various physical and mental symptoms that can cause discomfort. Can exercise ease menopause symptoms? Find out here.
We can briefly define menopause as a point in time (about a year) after a woman experiences her last monthly period.
It happens because a woman has a limited number of egg cells.
When she runs out of egg cells, ovulation (release of egg cells) stops. After menopause, the woman can no longer experience menstruation, and she can no longer get pregnant.
Here’s an important thing to remember: menopause symptoms typically appear years or months before the actual menopause begins.
This period leading to menopause is called perimenopause or menopausal transition, and it usually starts between the ages of 45 and 55.
Common menopausal symptoms
Before we talk about how exercise can ease menopause symptoms, let’s first discuss the symptoms.
The first symptom of menopause is usually a change in the woman’s menstruation.
From time to time, you may notice that your monthly flow is lighter or heavier. There can also be changes in frequency: there might be times when your period happens every 2 or 3 weeks, then you’ll observe that you’ll have no period for months.
Besides changes in menstruation, menopause can also result in:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Recurrent UTI
- Reduced sex drive
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Mood changes
- Joint stiffness
- Difficulty sleeping
If you notice, many of the menopausal symptoms can impact a woman’s daily life. That’s why it’s essential to know if exercise can ease menopause symptoms.
Can exercise ease menopause symptoms?
Currently, there’s still no proof that physical activity reduces the symptoms that women experience during menopause.
However, experts agree that exercising can promote a healthy weight, relieve stress, and improve the overall quality of life.
Being physically active is crucial because it can do the following.
Prevents weight gain and muscle loss
Many women who transition into the menopausal stage develop excess fat in their abdomen; at the same time, they might also lose muscle mass. Staying physically active can help prevent weight gain and muscle loss.
Exercising promotes the release of endorphins, one of the body’s “happy hormones.” Endorphins work by reducing our perception of pain, plus it gives us a positive feeling similar to what morphine can provide. This particular benefit is advantageous since menopause can lead to mood swings and anger.
Improves bone strength
Can exercise ease menopause symptoms? As mentioned earlier, there’s still no scientific proof that it can. However, staying physically active is still important because it promotes bone strength.
You see, maintaining healthy bones is challenging during menopause. In this stage, the levels of estrogen—a hormone that promotes bone strength—significantly drops. Weaker bones often increase a woman’s risk of developing fractures, especially after fall accidents.
Ensuring that you perform regular and appropriate physical activity helps strengthen your bones and improves your coordination and balance, reducing your risk of fractures.
Promotes heart health
Studies show that being overweight and obese increases your risk of developing heart conditions, such as hypertension. Furthermore, experts believe that the decline in estrogen levels affects the integrity of the blood vessels. These factors put menopausal women at risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Not only can exercise promote a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), but it can also reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. In other words, exercise can make your heart healthier.
Recommended exercises for menopause
Now that you understand how helpful being physically active is, let’s talk about the recommended exercises for menopause.
The amount of exercise a menopausal woman needs is generally the same as everyone else’s: at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic workout or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activities.
For best results, experts also recommend performing strength training at least twice a week.
Your physical activity options include:
- Aerobic workouts such as biking, jogging, brisk walking, and swimming
- Weight training (strength training)
- Exercises for balance
Note that these recommendations can change, depending on your doctor’s assessment. For this reason, do not proceed with a new exercise regimen without your physician’s approval.
Learn more about menopause here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.