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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Ashby

Menopause: Five Reasons to Exercise if You’re a Woman Over 30

Updated: Sep 21, 2022





In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach menopause is 51. But perimenopause, the stage before menopause, often begins in your 40s. Women can experience a host of symptoms, some more troubling than others, but exercise and physical activity can help with many of them. Find out what causes the issues associated with menopause - and why it’s more important than ever that you work out if you’re a woman age 30 and above.


The Three Stages of Natural Menopause

So why does menopause cause problems? The problem is due to the decline in oestrogen and progesterone, which are your reproductive hormones. In addition, testosterone levels change as a person ages, and may drop as a woman approaches menopause.


You can think of natural menopause as consisting of three stages.


1. Perimenopause - This is the transition stage, where a woman’s body starts to make less oestrogen, Perimenopause often begins in your 40s, and symptoms can last about four years. However, symptoms can start up to 10 years before you enter menopause.


2. Menopause - When you haven’t had a period for 12 months, you have reached menopause.


3. Postmenopause - Even after menopause, symptoms can continue for an average of four to five years. However, they are likely to be less frequent and less intense.


So, it’s the change in hormones that’s causing those hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, and other symptoms! Now, let’s look at six ways exercise can help you.


1. Helps Strengthen Bones

When you have less oestrogen in your body, you’re more likely to be affected by osteoporosis, which means your bones become weaker, and you’re more likely to break or fracture them.


But your bones will get stronger if you use them through exercise. Try to incorporate muscle strengthening exercises and weight-bearing exercises into your routine to help your bones get stronger.

In addition, exercise can slow bone loss after menopause.


Weight-bearing exercise is an activity which involves your supporting your body weight through your feet, legs, arms and hands and includes walking, jogging, dancing and playing tennis.


2. Prevents Weight Gain


Women tend to lose muscle mass and gain abdominal fat around the time of menopause. And excess weight increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Regular physical activity can help prevent weight gain and maintain a healthy weight, which might offer protection from various types of cancer, including breast, colon and endometrial cancer.

3. Builds Muscle

As well as stronger bones, strength training exercises will help to burn body fat and build muscle strength. Since weight gain and loss of muscle mass are two main symptoms of menopause, it’s more important than ever that you exercise regularly if you’re approaching menopause, going through it, or have been through it.

Muscle strengthening exercises are exercises where you move your muscles against some resistance and include lifting weights, using resistance bands, or doing press-ups.


4. Protects Your Heart

Experts say oestrogen levels protect your heart, so during menopause, your risks for cardiovascular disease significantly increase. Any physical activity has benefits for your health.


A growing number of statistics like physical activity and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and regular exercise can decrease your chance of developing it.


5. Helps You Sleep

The physical symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, emotional stress, and anxiety, can disrupt your sleep. Exercise can help improve sleep quality. Not only does it tire you out, but it relaxes you and helps you deal with stress and anxiety that might be keeping you awake.


6. Lifts Your Mood

Exercise can help you feel good about yourself and boost your self-esteem. In addition, physically active adults have a lower risk of depression and cognitive decline. If you find a physical activity you enjoy, it will also take your mind off annoying symptoms.


If you join a group with like-minded individuals, you’ll meet new people who feel the same way as you do. And those friendships will keep you smiling beyond menopause when you embrace your newfound freedom!

Menopause is a natural process and part of life for every woman in the world. And the good news is, it means an end to periods and birth control, once you’ve been free of periods for a year. After that, you’ll be free of the hormonal shifts that have plagued you since adolescence.


So, think of menopause as a new phase in your life. This is the time to feel more self-confident, energetic, emotionally intelligent, accepting of your body, clear, and in control. Enjoy!


Ashby's Adventure Trails and Treks is a friendly, approachable group that offers friendship and support as well as running in Coventry and further afield. Join us for a run by clicking here.


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