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Menopause and Exercise

Menopause is that time of a woman’s life when her hormones change and her periods stop. We should all rejoice, but…

All the common symptoms of the menopause are associated with a decrease in the body’s production of oestrogen. Lack of oestrogen can affect many parts of the body, including the brain, causing changes in emotional wellbeing, and the skin, influencing its elasticity and thickness.

Once the ovaries have ceased their production of oestrogen, other changes take place which may have more of an effect on long-term health. Most commonly these changes affect the strength and density of bones, increasing the risk of the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. The bones of the female skeleton depend on oestrogen to maintain their strength and resistance to fracture. However, there are no obvious symptoms of osteoporosis – the first sign is usually the fracture of a bone. It’s for this reason that osteoporosis has been called “the silent epidemic”.

Strength Training

Whilst many women associate strength training with big muscles. Here are some of the benefits: (I do understand the pic is me and I am 52)

  • Increases bone density reducing the risk of osteoporosis
  • Strengthens ligaments and tendons giving support to joints
  • Increases muscle mass (which is dramatically reduced during the ageing process)
  • Increases muscle strength making every day tasks easier to perform.

Endurance Training

This does not mean that we need to go out and train for a marathon (unless that is your thing). However, an exercise regime which includes brisk walking, cycling, hill walking or any activity which is of moderate intensity and raises the heart rate will be of huge benefit – here is why:

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes
  • Releases endorphins which improve mood and brain function
  • Controls weight gain – often associated with a decrease in oestrogen
  • Improves cardiovascular function and the ability to utilise oxygen

Be kind to yourself

  • Eat a well-balanced diet – rich in vitamin D and calcium to help bone density
  • Stop smoking – the effects of smoking are more dramatic after menopause, raising the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, which are the most common form of death in women
  • Treat yourself – you deserve to shop for great clothes and products to help your skin feel soft and moisturised
  • Regularly visit your hairdresser – a good haircut can do wonders for your confidence
  • Exercise regularly – 30-45 minutes, three or four times per week
  • Stay in touch with friends and keep a healthy social life
  • With age comes experience and money can’t buy that – but it’s worth a fortune

If you would like any help with you exercise programming either 1:1 personal training or online please email di@activeaims.co.uk or call 07973 782 647 to arrange a free consultation.