The Benefits of Weight-Bearing Exercises for Menopausal Women
The sooner you start, the better
I once shared an office with a woman who experienced symptoms of menopause. At times she felt so warm that she needed to take off layers of clothing and fan herself.
I am now that woman.
During menopause, a woman’s estrogen production decreases as her ovaries cease to function.
There are a number of nasties that can accompany menopause:
- A woman can lose as much as 30% of her bone mass during this period, leading to postmenopausal osteoporosis.
- The risk for developing heart disease increases after menopause.
- In addition to physical changes, the signs of menopause may include mood swings, depression, irritability and anxiety.
But there is something we women can do!
Weight Bearing Exercise
Women who have participated in lifelong physical activity typically have a higher bone mineral density at the start of menopause than inactive sedentary women do, and so have an advantage.
Exercise lowers blood pressure and raises the level of good cholesterol, protecting the heart.
It strengthens the endocrine system so that the adrenal glands and ovaries function more efficiently.
It helps women lose weight, taking some stress off the heart, joints and all other body systems.
Physical activity helps to relieve stress, anxiety, and tension.
It’s been proven to increase energy levels and promote deep, restful sleep.
We know that it increases our sense of mental well-being. It can make women feel stronger, more self-assured, and even look better.
My personal favorite exercise is brisk walking
But low-impact aerobics, rowing, jogging and dancing are all “weight-bearing” activities that help keep bones strong.
Also effective are “resistance” exercises such as weight training.
By improving circulation, exercise can make a menopausal women’s body more tolerant of temperature extremes that hot flashes bring on, and I can reap all the above benefits as well.