Are you a Menopause Athlete?
Time for change
Peri menopause and Menopause is a great time for assessment and reflection. At menopause many women experience signs and symptoms of menopause and decide they want to take up physical activity. Extra body weight starts to appear, knees and other joints are sore, feeling stressed pushed and pulled from one thing to another. This is when many women say, I need some ‘Me time”
You want to take control of what’s happening, your health, fitness and diet become a priority and so you join a gym or a running group, you may start cycling or swimming. But your sore knees get worse, you’re not losing any weight for the extra exercise and ‘nothing seems to work’ for you.
Menopause is an unusual time for women, hormones are in flux, we’re not sure what’s exactly happening and more importantly we don’t know how to manager it. Our partners have a difficult time trying to support us but know even less about it. How do you manage menopause?
Fitness at menopause
As a fitness professional I am well aware of the benefits that physical activity can bring to general health and managing menopause symptoms. But there is caution here, too. My advice is to see a fitness professional qualified to deal with women at menopause. There are many contraindications for exercise at this time, all of which, with the right advice and guidance, can be overcome.
For example, a typical symptom of menopause is weight gain. Your metabolic rate has dropped but food consumption remains the same. As a result of weight gain, mood tends to lower. So you take action. You want to be more physically active and you join a jogging group. For a few days after the exercise you fell tired and your mood is lower. You feel it may be that you’re just not fit enough so you persevere with the jogging. But 3-4 weeks later, nothing seems to get better. Body weight is not going down, your mood is lower and all this effort is not working for you. You start to get stressed about it.
Role of Testosterone
During peri menopause, menopause and posit menopause, testosterone in women lowers. Testosterone is responsible for libido. It also regulates mood. For both men and women too much exercise can lower testosterone levels. In women at menopause, where levels are already lowering, endurance exercise such as running may cause testosterone to lower further. This causes the low mood. The stress around all this then produces more cortisol which retains body fat as an energy source.
Doing it right
Doing the right kind of exercise to support you at menopause is essential. Firstly, you choose an exercise you enjoy. Then you do it in such as ways as to benefit your health, rather than hinder it. A previous client of mine had tried all the diets, all sorts of exercise and come to me with injuries form exercise. Together, we addressed her thoughts on food and diet to shift her mindset towards food. Then addressed her long term injuries with therapy exercise to enable as much function in them as possible. Then we were able to identify how she could train effectively, through the week, to benfit her symptoms of menopause and her quality of life.
With your DNA fitness report, find a sample report here, you will know what kind of exercise your body responds to best, along with a fitness professional, you can get the right advice as to the duration and intensity of your exercise to be successful in achieving your weight loss and menopause goals.