Menopause is a big change in any woman’s life, especially when it comes to dealing with symptoms like hot flashes or mood swings. Fortunately, it’s possible to make small changes to help better handle these symptoms.
Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise during menopause will help alleviate many of the symptoms typically associated with menopause. According to a report by CNN, women who exercise less than three times a week are 28% more likely to report having severe menopause symptoms than those who exercise more often. Exercise also helps prevent the onset of weight gain, a common symptom of menopause, and help to reduce stress and boost your mood, too.
Strength Training and Menopause
As women age, we naturally lose muscle mass and experience a decline in bone density. Because of this, it’s important to eat a protein-rich diet to help maintain healthy bones and muscles. According to Human Kinetics, weight training can actually increase bone density and have been shown to reduce the risk of adult-onset diabetes, lower blood pressure, decrease arthritic pain, maintain lower back health, and to help you maintain a healthy weight.
As you begin strength training, you don’t need to jump into any crazy bodybuilding routine! Even incorporating 3-5 pound weights into your daily walk or yoga routine can help improve muscle mass and bone density without making you feel like you’ve exhausted your energy in the process.
Menopause and Pelvic Floor Exercises
Shifting levels of hormones can cause muscles in the pelvic floor to lose some of their elasticity and strength. Engaging your pelvic floor with Kegel exercises and certain stretches can help to strengthen the pelvic floor and to reduce the severity of urinary incontinence that some women experience during menopause. Laying on your back on the floor and slowly tilting the pelvis upward, vertebrae by vertebrae, is a great way to work with those hard-to-reach muscles.
Yoga for Menopause
Many women find that yoga helps reduce the severity of many symptoms associated with menopause, such as night sweats, exhaustion, stress, weight gain, or irritability. With a good yoga practice, you can become more aware of your breath and your body in relation to each other, and help alleviate back pain and other aches and pains.
Regular stretching and light exercise decreases the risk of obesity and chronic pain that many people experience with age. Yoga is a great way to maintain blood pressure, circulation, and flexibility.
Bridge pose, forward fold or half forward fold, and downward dog are all restorative yoga poses that help to reduce stress, increase flexibility, and get your blood flowing. Inversions like plow pose and supported shoulder stand are good for right before bedtime, as they can aid in sleep. Some studies even show that these inversions can combat the effects of sleep deprivation.
Laying on your back with your legs elevated is a more restful inversion method that delivers the same benefits. Next time you can’t sleep because of hot flashes or other symptoms of menopause, take a deep breath and stretch out into a restorative yoga pose.