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Exercise and Fitness Tips For Women In Menopause

I recently (as of this writing) attended a lecture about the best health and fitness tips for women in menopause. This lecture was given by physical therapists and for physical therapists. I learned some really good information, some new information, and I wanted to share that with you.

Often in menopause women gain weight at an increasing pace. They have menopausal symptoms including fatigue, insomnia and hot flashes, which make fitness and health even more challenging, but this information is really helpful for those things, too.


Cardiovascular Fitness Training In Menopause

  • Focus should be on sprint or HIIT (high intensity interval training) rather than long, slow cardio

    • This helps metabolism and because in menopause you will need more recovery time

    • This type of training may also help with hot flashes--bonus!

      • I don't know exactly why this is, but we will take the good news

    • Aim for 8-30 second sprints with a 12-20 second rest period

    • Do this 6-8 times to complete one set

    • Repeat for 3 sets

    • Do this training twice a week


woman looking at fitness watch

Strength Training in Menopause

  • Women need to lift heavy!

    • Heavy weight lifting improves muscle and bone strength

    • Aim for 85% of 1 rep max

      • This translates to: 1-4 reps should fatigue you, otherwise you are not lifting heavy enough

      • Aim for 4 sets of 1-4 reps

      • If you are using a weight that you can repeat for 10-15 reps, that is not heavy enough! Lift heavier!

      • This will take some time to build up to this if you are not used to lifting weights. Hire a trainer, take a class, work with a physical therapist to get you to where you can do this safely. We don't want injuries to set you back.

      • You will not get bulky if you lift heavy weights as a female

      • 2-3 weight lifting sessions per week


women doing weighted squats


Bone Health

  • You can build bone even in menopause

    • Previously it was thought that you stop building bone in your 30's and you can only prevent bone loss after that, but now research shows you can reverse bone loss.

  • How to build stronger bones:

    • lifting heavy weights

    • jumping

    • impact exercise like running

      • walking is not enough to build bone strength

      • yoga, Pilates, swimming and cycling are not enough to build bone strength

        • these are all good exercises to do, but they will not help build stronger bones

  • Jumping for 10 minutes 3 times a week helps build stronger bones

    • If you are afraid to jump because of bladder leakage, see a pelvic floor therapist

    • Start with my free bladder class to learn more


men and women doing star jumps outside near the trees


Nutrition in Menopause

  • Eat!

    • Most women are undernourished

    • diets don't work for weight loss in menopause

      • keto, intermittent fasting, etc have not been shown to help women lose weight

    • Be sure to eat enough protein

      • After a workout women in menopause have a 30 minute window to replace their protein (men have a 4 hour window, not fair, I know)

        • It is recommended to eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of finishing exercise

  • Stay hydrated

    • Water is not enough for active women in menopause

    • You need electrolytes in your hydration at about 3-4% of the total solution


woman eating sushi


Recovery in Menopause

  • Menopausal women need more recovery after activity

  • Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep

  • Combine the exercise recommendations into one fitness routine so you have recovery time in between

    • This is one reason sprint or HIIT exercise is recommended, so you have more recovery time


woman sitting and resting and drinking water in workout clothing

Get Help From An Expert

  • Consult your doctor or primary care provider to get baseline health testing and recommendations prior to starting

  • See a physical therapist to help with any injuries

  • See a pelvic floor therapist if you have bladder leakage, prolapse, or pelvic pain that is preventing you from doing any of the recommended exercises

  • Work with a personal trainer or fitness instructor who can help create a program for you that includes these elements and who can coach you through them safely.

  • Start slowly if you haven't been exercising and build up to doing these things


Conclusion

I am really passionate about helping people age gracefully and live well during their years on this planet. I want to help women with their bladder issues and pelvic problems, so they can do the things they love and stay healthy. I see too many women not doing the exercise they want to do, or know they should do, because of bladder leakage, and this is a problem. If bladder leakage is holding people back it is going to affect other aspects of their health, such as muscle weakness and bone loss. I have seen too many elderly women fall and break their hip and then it is a slow decline from there. Lets start early, or now, in life to fix your bladder and pelvic issues so that you can live your life to the fullest.

Set up a free phone consultation to find out more about how I can help you individually.

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