Why Exercise is SO Important when you're in Perimenopause
Perimenopause and Exercise
Exercise at all stages of life is super important with the benefits well documented and include:
- increasing immunity and energy
- decreasing PMS symptoms
- helping to control weight
- building stronger bones
- improving sleep and
- reducing anxiety and depression.
How does exercise help Perimenopause Symptoms?
In Perimenopause it’s even more important to move every day for two key reasons:
- to support your changing body composition and
- to reduce perimenopause symptoms.
Our body composition is changing and we are losing muscle mass and bone density. Exercise will help build strong bones and muscle mass. If you haven’t been an exerciser in the past, this is your time to shine!
Bonus tips to get started with moving every day
- Start really small
- Have super low expectations and slowly, gradually build up what you're doing
- Buddy up with someone who is in a similiar boat, hold each other gently accountable - move together or agree to check in with one another
- Give yourself permission to silent the negative voice for a while and to turn up the 'well done, I did it!"s - celebrate each and every change you make; no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential. It matters and it counts!
Need a reason to get moving? Moving will improve your perimenopause symptoms such as low energy, increased PMS symptoms, weight gain, sleep issues and mood fluctuations.
Regular exercise is a key tool in keeping us happy and healthy through the perimenopause transition.
Exercise for Perimenopause
Weight-Bearing ExerciseIs anything that gives you the power to work against gravity on two feet. It helps to make your bones stronger and denser and strengthens the muscles around the bones to help support your frame. Some great examples here.
How does Weight Bearing Exercise help?
Oestrogen helps protect bones and when our levels start to drop we lose approximately 10% of our bone mass in the first five years after menopause. Which means we have to have a good baseline to start with to deal with the inevitable loss. If the bone loss is too much women can develop osteoporosis which is when bones become weak and brittle and have more chance of fracturing. More info on menopause and osteoporosis here.Strength-Training
Strength training is exercise designed to improve strength and endurance to help build bone density, reduce the risk of fractures and increase muscle mass.
Muscle mass naturally decreases with age, so it’s important to maintain not only to support your bones but also muscles burn more calories than fat, so it helps with maintaining a healthy weight.
Examples of strength training would be lifting weights, using resistance bands and using your own body weight for resistance like push-ups, pull-ups, yoga and leg squats.Yoga
Yoga benefits both your body and mind. Practising mindful breathing through the postures helps stabilise your mood and calm the mind.
Studies have confirmed that five-second inhalation and five-second exhalation for 15 minutes twice a day can cut hot flashes by 44 percent. Not only does it help with reducing hot flashes and stabilising your mood, it's great strength-training and improves your flexibility which helps with reducing injuries.Pelvic Floor Exercise
Menopause and changes in oestrogen levels are associated with weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Some women might develop Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD).
Do you pee when you laugh, cough or exercise? This is a symptom of PFD. This doesn’t happen overnight; it can happen from a buildup of things from childbirth, C-section, heavy lifting, lack of exercise, being overweight, poor posture and a long line of other things. So it’s not just because of perimenopausal hormone changes.
That's why it’s important to embrace those pelvic floor exercises now. Anything that builds core strength will help build pelvic floor strength.
Pilates and yoga work really well. For pelvic floor exercises jump onto YouTube there are so many videos to choose from and you can do them in the comfort of your own home.
**Side note: if you do have any kind of incontinence/leaking, try the Modibodi underwear. They give you the freedom to exercise without worrying.**
Should I eat before training?
If you are doing a workout under 90 minutes I would suggest that you probably don’t need to eat before you work out unless you have done multiple workouts that day or you are an athlete trying to improve performance.
If you are doing a workout over 90 minutes or you have worked out a few times that day I suggest you have a snack of around 30g of carbs before you exercise, for example 1 banana.
Eating after exercise.
It's super important to eat after exercise and within a 30 minute window. If you would like to learn more read this post from one of our favourite sports nutritionists, Kira Sutherland.
What kind of exercise is right for you? Read this to get you started.
Got questions? Drop us yours below.