If you are looking for stability in your life, befriend a woman in menopause. Suddenly everything else in your life will seem rock-solid stable! Jokes such as these are abundant but for some women it can be a challenging time.
Menopause is the time which signals the end of the child bearing period for women as a result of lowering levels of the hormone oestrogen. It occurs in the UK on average at the age of 52 years. It can occur earlier or later and the onset can be sudden or over a number of years. It is estimated that 75% of women experience some symptoms the most common being hot flushes, night sweats, disturbed sleep patterns, mood swings, weight gain and depression.
Physical activity during and after menopause offers many benefits for women who have always exercised. It is also beneficial for those who have not exercised regularly.
Women tend to lose muscle and gain abdominal fat after menopause so even a little physical activity can help prevent this weight gain which can be around 3 kg. Keeping a healthy weight may offer protection from breast cancer. Post menopausal women carry a higher risk factor of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes -regular exercise can counter these risks. Doing weight bearing exercise such as walking or running has shown to provide a protective effect on bone density. This will lower the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
It is well documented that physical activity can boost mental health. The severity of depression, stress, anxiety and mood swings for menopausal women may be reduced through regular exercise.
Although physical activity has not been proven to reduce symptoms such as hot flushes and disturbed sleep; menopausal women who exercise regularly do seem to have a better quality of life.
So, whether you are 40 heading for pre menopause or now post menopause the aim would be to do 30 minutes of aerobic activity five days a week plus some resistance training twice a week.