Family first is the motto of most of the women. However, we don’t realise our fitness is the first requirement when we put the family first. Without focussing on our own fitness, family first is just a myopic and short-term view.
Imagine as a wife or mother when we are sick. Everything comes to a halt. As a center of the family, it is the responsibility of the family to allow us the time for our own fitness.
No time for the exercise actually means no time for the family. Period.
Today we are discussing about the most critical issue in women’s life – Menopause. and how exercise can do the wonder in managing Menopause and Post Menopause life.
After the age of 40, women are staring at menopause. Menopause is critical, not only emotionally but physically also, time in a woman’s life.
A woman is born with a finite number of eggs, which are stored in the ovaries. The ovaries also make the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control menstruation and ovulation. Menopause happens when the ovaries no longer release an egg every month and menstruation stops.
Estrogen also influences how the body uses calcium and maintains cholesterol levels in the blood.
“Estrogen-deficient women are nothing but the walking dead.” Marie Hoag MBA (Hormonal Expert)
Menopause refers to the end of menstruation and is said to have occurred when a woman has not had a period for 12 months. At that point, women are considered ‘postmenopausal’. Most women reach menopause between 45 and 55 years of age. In India, the average age of natural menopause is 46-47 years, which is lower than the world average age of 51 years.
Symptoms of Menopause: (According to The North American Menopause Society)
- Irregular periods,
- Hot flushes,
- Night sweats,
- Mood changes, Depression & Anxiety,
- Vaginal dryness,
- Muscle and joint aches
There are many health and hormonal changes happen during the menopause and post-menopause period. But there is nothing to worry. The right lifestyle, diet, and exercise can make the life post menopause beautiful.
Exercise and Menopause:
Exercise is the only way to keep fitness in check and maintain good health post menopause and hormonal changes. In their paper Exercise beyond menopause: Dos and Don’ts, authors, Nalini Mishra, V. N. Mishra, and Devanshi recommends the following exercise benefits.
- Exercise increases the cardiorespiratory function. If done regularly, it reduces the metabolic risks associated with declining estrogen. It increases HDL, reduces LDL, triglycerides, and fibrinogen. There is an additional benefit of a reduced risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
- Exercise can help create a calorie deficit and minimize midlife weight gain.
- It increases the bone mass. Strength training and impact activities (like walking or running) can help to offset the decline of bone mineral density and prevent osteoporosis
- It also reduces low back pain.
- It is proven to help reduce stress and improve the mood.
- It may help to reduce hot flashes, thereby minimizing the “Domino effect.
Exercise is extremely important to prevent Osteoporosis. Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will 1 in 5 men aged over 50
According to Cleveland Clinics; There is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the development of osteoporosis. After menopause, bone resorption (breakdown) overtakes the building of new bone. Early menopause (before age 45) and any long phases in which the woman has low hormone levels and no or infrequent menstrual periods can cause loss of bone mass.
Women over the age of 50 have the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis. In fact, women are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis. Women’s lighter, thinner bones and longer life spans are some of the reasons why they are at high risk for osteoporosis.
According to them the only things other than the medicines and supplements which can help prevent and even treat Osteoporosis is Exercise. Weight-bearing exercise and resistance exercise are particularly important for improving bone density and helping to prevent osteoporosis.
The authors, Nalini Mishra, V. N. Mishra, and Devanshi write; “Women can enjoy a good quality of life after menopause even without hormones. Research indicates that postmenopausal women, who engage in the comprehensive exercise program, benefit by maintaining a healthy body, bone density levels, and good mental health. Osteoporosis, the greatest ailment in older women, can be kept under control with exercise. … Exercise works by improving muscle mass, strength, balance, and coordination. Therefore, unlike treatment with medicine, exercises work simultaneously on various aspects of one’s health.”
“I feel better in my mind when I work out. It makes everything better.” Keri Russell, in the May 2013 issue of Women’s Health.
Feel better and live better with regular exercise. Menopause or no menopause, you will be healthy forever.
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