The menopause and exercise

This is something that either has, is, or is going to happen to all of us (except Jonathon). It is a time when exercise is even more important for various reasons which will become clear.

During the menopause (which is when women stop menstruating and tends to happen at around 50 years old) the female sex hormones estorgen and progesterone fluctuate. These hormonal fluctuations can cause some side effects such as hot flushes.

When a woman has not had her period for 12 months she is deemed to be post menopausal. This means she will have significantly less estrogen which is linked to both weight gain and reduced bone mineral density.

Studies show that mice which have lower estrogen levels habitually move less and eat more resulting in weight gain. Post menopausal fat gain tends to be preferentially stored around the stomach. Central fat storage is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes making avoiding post menopausal weight gain even more important.

Estrogen is also important in the formation of new bone resulting in increased risk of osteoporosis in post menopausal women.

Fortunately exercise can help attenuate these effects.

The benefits of exercise in relation to menopause include:

– Improved metabolic health
– Increased muscle mass and strength
– Increased bone mineral density
– Improved mood
– Reduced back pain
– Aids fat loss
– May reduce hot flushes

Exercise offers huge health benefits to everyone. These benefits are even more prominent post menopause.

PS look how ecstatic this woman is – that could be you!

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