Nutrition

Menopause and Exercise

For some women, menopause can be a difficult time. Symptoms of menopause can include: hot flashes, night sweats, bladder and reproductive tract changes, weight gain, fatigue, irritability and depression. However, there is one simple thing you can do right now – exercise.

“The good news is that a regular program of physical activity can help manage many of the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause as well as the related health concerns, such as heart disease and osteoporosis,” according to the American Council on Exercise.

Hormones and Health

Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 48 and 55 and is defined as a women’s last menstrual period, when the ovaries stop making the hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Prior to menopause, those hormones provide “protective effects” that can guard against heart disease and osteoporosis. But a decline in the production of protective hormones can leave a woman vulnerable to different health problems. For example, during the first five to 10 years after menopause, women can experience up to 2 to 4 percent loss of bone density per year.

Exercise Benefits

Exercise can step in and provide its own “protective effect.” Strength training with weights or resistance bands, and weight-bearing exercise such as walking can help prevent bone loss. Regular cardiovascular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and type II diabetes, and prevent weight gain.

In a group of postmenopausal women studied at the University of Tennessee, active women had 13 pounds less fat on their trunks, and their waists were seven inches smaller than sedentary women.

Do not let menopause scare you. Take control; find activities you enjoy to stay fit, and keep your waist trim. Consistency is key; so strive for some moderate activity daily, or at least most days of the week. Maintain your fitness program every week. And of course, talk with your physician before starting a new exercise program.

Related Links
  • Studies Reaffirm Benefits of Exercise for Seniors
  • Study: Active Lifestyle Slows Down Aging
  • Healthy Aging Tips
  • About the Author

    Georgelena_Saborio_8809Georgelena Saborio is an exercise physiologist and supervisor for the Employee Fitness Department at Baptist Health South Florida, a position she has held for 10 years. Ms. Saborio received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine. At Baptist Health, she provides and oversees all fitness events and the Employee Fitness centers. She has served as a member of the Chamber South Wellness Committee for fours years, assisting and providing fitness programs and education to its members and the community.

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    With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 13 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.