We plan our retirement decades in advance by paying into a pension. Do you think about your physical health in the same way?
Most of us do not which means it is not until we ‘need’ to; we start to think about exercise as a way of improving our wellbeing and to help us to keep doing the activities we enjoy.
We all know our metabolism slows, as we get older. This means we will put on weight if we do nothing about it. However, this is something we can prevent:
- Very few of us deliberately cut our calories as we get older even thought we know we need less. We can calculate the number of calories we need using Basal Metabolic Rate. The Harris-Benedict method also uses our height and age to help calculate declining calorie requirement. You can find the calculator on my website here.
- We can increase our metabolism by increasing our muscle mass. This is through strength-based training such as lifting weights or body weight exercises such as Pilates and Yoga.
We can potentially lose 20% of our brain mass by the time we are in our seventies. However, continually learning helps with maintaining our brain mass. Exercise is one way of doing this, specifically coordinated exercises and exercise choreographed to music. If you were looking for an excuse to put on your dancing shoes you just found it!
The changes “the change” has on your body
The menopause lowers estrogen levels; this can have a detrimental impact in three areas:
- Heart health: We can improve our heart health by regular activity. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends, getting out of puff for 150 minutes a week.
- Bone health: Osteoporosis, which is thinning of our bone, and can be improved by weight bearing exercises. This is exercises performed on your feet with an extra weight to help build bones in feet, legs and hips. For your wrists and shoulder joints, exercises on your hands and knee helps to build bone in upper body joints.
- Increasing waistline: We become more sensitive to stress and carbohydrates throughout the menopause. This can cause an increase in our girth. It requires a different approach to exercise in our younger years. Restorative exercise such as Hatha Yoga can help to reduce our stress levels and then our waistlines.
Money facilitates a happy retirement and so does being active and vital. Both of them require thought and planning well in advance. What exercise are you planning for when you are older? Can you start investing in that today by finding a class or learning now how to do something that you are planning to do regularly in your future?
Samantha Valand is the author of “The Menopause Diaries: A practical guide to healthy eating and exercising in your menopausal years”. You can find out more about her book here.