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Can Exercise Help Me Through the Menopause?



Can Exercise Help Me Through the Menopause?

Going through the menopause can be a testing time. Having to deal with the physical and emotional consequences of the drop in the hormone oestrogen that triggers the menopause and all its symptoms is difficult to deal with. It’s something that all women have to face yet it can feel like a lonely and isolating time, made worse by social media, less than understanding partners and the expectations of society to just get on with it. 

You may have spoken to your doctor about Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to help manage symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats. You may have also sought talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you deal with the emotional symptoms such as mood swings and anxiety.

But you can take control of many of the symptoms of the menopause by committing yourself to regular exercise. 

Exercise helps to keep us fit and healthy and increases our lean muscle mass. But exercise also has benefits to bone strength and mental health, which can be especially important during the menopause.

Exercise and weight management

Even if you’ve managed to stay trim all your life, going through the menopause can mean that you find it harder to maintain your ideal weight, meaning that you need to work harder to stay in the healthy zone.

This is because a drop in oestrogen levels can lead to a decreased metabolic rate. A decreased metabolic rate leads to weight gain, and in turn less confidence and mobility, both of which can mean we exercise less, only adding to the issue of weight gain. 

Keeping up with regular exercise, a mix of strength training, aerobic exercise and stretching exercise such as yoga, will mean that weight gain is less likely. Not only is this good for physical health, emotionally you’ll feel better too – more confident in your clothes with more energy and lust for life.

Exercise and bone strength

The menopause can lead to problems with bone strength in older women, leaving some women more at risk of mobility, coordination and stability problems and brittle bones and osteoporosis.

Regular strength training will help to strengthen your muscles, but not only that. Stronger muscles lead to stronger ligaments (that attach bones to bones) and tendons (that attach muscles to bones). This in turn means that your whole skeletal system becomes stronger, helping to reduce the mobility and weak bone risks associated with the menopause.

Exercise and mood

There’s little doubt that exercise makes us feel good emotionally. Perhaps not always whilst we’re doing it, but afterwards, we often feel like we’re on top of the world! This is due to a surge in feel good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine that begin to drop, along with oestrogen, during the menopause.

So for the sake of our weight, physical health and emotional wellbeing, regular exercise really could help ease us through the menopause with fewer and less significant symptoms. And all it takes is as little as 20 minutes a day!

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