Are you or some of your beloved ones are nearing menopause? or already in the menopause phase of life. Well, it is an important transition in women’s health. It needs to be acknowledged with proper care in order to stay fit and healthy. Menopause is the end of the reproductive phase for a female. As said so, there will be a tremendous hormonal imbalance even for a healthy individual. Two important hormones called estrogen and progesterone gets depleted for the body, causing various health impairments and bodily changes.

Effects of menopause:

Weight gain:

A Sudden Increase in weight particularly at the lower abdominal region is predominant after menopause. This is because of the reduced level of estrogen hormone. Estrogen plays a pivotal role in increasing metabolic rate and maintaining body fat. The inverse does occur on its depletion. Lower metabolic rate after menopause would eventually cause storage of starch and glucose as fat deposits in the body, thereby increasing weight. As a consequence of weight gain, the risk for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, cancers like cervix and breast cancer are amplified. With properly maintained fitness and with the correctly planned meal, it is possible to control diabetes.

Hot flashes:

Hot flashes are nothing but sudden increase in the core body temperature which seems to be a hallmark for menopausal women. Unexpected burning sensation or warmth sensorium on hands, chest, face and neck are typical symptoms of hot flashes. Apart from this undesirable feel, hot flashes also act as a marker for cardiovascular diseases. In a research study, it has been found out that increased hot flashes after menopause are linked with increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Sleep disturbances:

Disturbed sleep is predominant for menopausal women which not only affects the quality of sleep but also the quality of life. Sleep is extremely essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, however, unable to get deep sleep in a day would drastically cause elevated internal pressure, increased stress and ultimately leading to other conditions like psychological issues like chronic depression and cardiovascular diseases. There are certain natural ways of dealing with stress which would certainly help in handling distress better.

The weakening of bones:

Estrogen has a major contribution to bone formation activity. Upon its depletion, destruction of bone-forming cells called osteoclastic activity increases and osteoporosis occurs. This results in joint pain, knee and sole pain and increased backache. Gaining weight would still worsen this condition and might cause a fracture of the bone.

The decline in cognitive functioning:

Hormonal imbalance in menopause makes midlife women vulnerable to a decrease in cognitive functions. Memory is an important factor to remember and correlate the understanding capability, while its depletion could cause another way round complications. However, there are possible ways to improve memory power and certainly, adequate physical activity is one of its effective ways.

Mood swing and sexual dysfunction:

Hormonal disturbances are one of the major reason for mood swings and sexual dysfunction and the nowhere menopausal condition is exceptional. Drastic depletion of Sexual hormones like estrogen and progesterone would desperately cause mood swings for midlife females. It is necessary to have proper physical workouts to counteract these discrepancies.

Role of physical activity in menopausal women:

In general, midlife women become fatigued and loses or reduces physical activity easily, nevertheless, this is the period where every woman certainly has to involve in proper physical workouts. Adequate exercises counteract the need for the hormonal requirement, especially estrogen which helps to nullify or at least minimise the menopausal after effects. It helps to improve the bone strength and prevent fracturing, minimises bone pain, reduces the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other hormonal imbalance like diabetes, mood swing, etcetera. Physical workouts reduce body mass index and help in maintaining body weight under control.

Fitness guidelines for menopausal women:

Yoga and meditation:

Yoga and meditation is one effective way to improve the flexibility of the entire body, along with relieving stress. In fact, chronic pain like knee pain, backache can be effectively controlled with yoga. It’s an ancient practice, which has no harm to bodily activity. It helps to improve the focusing capacity of an individual and calm down completely. Boosts the immune system and improves blood circulation to vital organs. Practising yoga regularly would be beneficial for counteracting hormonal disturbances.

Yoga is preferably practised in the early morning during sunrise and with the empty stomach for better result. However, it is still acceptable to practice at any time at your convenience providing that your stomach is not fully loaded. It is an excellent way of stretching the entire body and practising at least 40 mins to an hour a day would provide a better result. I personally recommend practising yoga and meditation under proper mentorship to understand its core scientific connection and method in the righteous way rather than doing self-practice.

Aerobic exercises:

Aerobic activities are another way to shed out extra body fats. Not necessarily you have to choose gymming for aerobic workouts. Outdoor activities like brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, are all effective aerobic exercises and choose it according to your interests. It is always better to have some activity in the fresh air rather than staying indoors. For a beginner level, start with a minimum of 15 mins workouts and slowly increase the endurance according to your capacity.

stretching:

Although yoga is an outstanding stretching activity, it is also connected with breath control and requires proper training to handle it efficiently. There are other simple stretch exercises available which are less complicated and require minimal effort still an effective one. Those stretches can be done at any time and do not intricate on anything. Stretching the body now and then would certainly help to activate various muscles constantly.

Muscle-strengthening exercises:

After menopause, it is common to have knee pain and other joint pains. Physiotherapy exercises like basic muscle strengthening movements which looks quite simple and easier are another option to strengthen the bones and muscles. Regularly practising these effortless movements could provide long term fruitful solution.

A healthy diet and sleep:

Eating correctly makes sense! It doesn’t mean only about having the right food, but also it indicates having food at the correct time, maintaining regularity of the same on every day, quantity and quality of food you prefer, and how well you hydrate yourself. All these matters a lot when coming to lead a quality of life. The way you start your breakfast would highly determine your entire day’s overall activity and will say whether you are on the right track or not. It is ideal to start your meal as early as 7 to 8 AM in the morning.

Likewise, sleep is also a determinant. At what time you sleep, the number of hours of your undisturbed sleep, the total duration of sleep would tell about your mental and physical health. Solid 7 hours of sleep per day is an ideal one. Preferably stay on to “the early bed and early wake” mode for sorting out all major issues.

Menopause is a different phase of life in women’s life, however, it is quite possible to handle it with less complexity by adopting certain changes in our day to day life.

References from PubMed:

Changes in heart rate and blood pressure across nocturnal hot flashes associated with or without arousal from sleep.

Weight and weight changes throughout life and postmenopausal breast cancer risk: a case-control study in France.


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