If your thoughts have turned to exercising more when you are menopausal, perhaps your midriff has expanded, and because you are thinking about ageing well. Being active plays a huge role in ageing well.
A different approach is required as your lowering hormones can make you more sensitive to stress and sugar in your menopausal years. This means the ‘eat less, exercise more’ mantra of our younger years is not the best advice. Although we know exercise keeps us healthy, it is the right amount of exercise that keeps us healthy. Too much exercise can cause as many problems as not enough exercise! It is the Goldilocks effect. Balancing our hormones is the first step in our hormonal years to being able to lose weight or change our shape.
Many of us view exercise as only a means lose weight. However, there are many components to exercise which have different benefits, which I discuss in detail in my book The Menopause Diaries.
- Exercise can help us to become fitter, stronger and flexible,
- Exercises with co-ordination means we are exercising our brains too,
- Restorative exercise and activities can help us reduce stress levels and
- core strength and good posture to help relieve back pain and tight shoulders.
OK so where do I start?
There are two things to consider if you are thinking about being active for the rest of your life:
- building strong exercise foundations,
- be consistent and finding exercises that you can do regardless of fluctuating energy levels
My exercise priorities for you would be:
- strengthen your core,
- improve posture and
- reduce stress levels
Start looking locally for a Pilates class and Hatha Yoga classes or one to one sessions if that suits your budget.
What to look for when booking a class:
- You are looking for classes you can attend on a regular basis. So check your diary and block it out. Include your travel time!
- Get into the habit of thinking your Yoga/Pilates class is non-negotiable.
- Look at the language they are using in the marketing to describe their classes. I am advising Hatha Yoga as a relaxing class, if it is being described as energetic then it is perhaps not for you.
- The smaller the class the better as that will give you more feedback from the instructor, and you will progress faster,
- Booking into a block helps you with class adherence, rather than drop in classes. Put your money where your mouth is!
How to keep going:
- If you are cancelling regularly because the class is too hard or you don’t have the energy, it’s not the right class for you,
- If you are cancelling regularly because of other commitments then it’s not at the right time for you,
- Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before finding a class that works for you. The personality of the instructor makes all the difference!
Exercising with a strong core and good posture gives you a flying start when you are postmenopausal and can exercise with more intensity.
The menopause can leave you feeling drained and exercise is often the last thing you want to do.
Finding something to keep you moving regardless with a ‘I’m just going show up, do what I can’ attitude is priceless and forms non- negotiable activities for you that will keep you active in your future years.
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.
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