3 Practical Tips for Staying Sane with Exercise During Menopause
Samantha Clayton—As women, we go through so many hormonal changes in our lifetime and as a woman who has experienced them all I can honestly share that staying positive and living a healthy active lifestyle can help you cope with the changes, both physically and mentally.
The benefits of being physically active go far beyond the physical, exercising releases endorphins that make you feel good, sweating and improved circulation gives your skin a youthful post-exercise glow, and although we can’t stop the aging process, building lean muscle mass and promoting bone density sure does help to counteract nature’s plan.
I am the mother of four, including a set of triplets and this year in March went through a hysterectomy at age 35. Although not in official menopause, the hormonal shift and lack of energy that comes with the changes are very real. My exercise routine has been my saving grace. As a fitness expert who has been teaching for over 12 years, here are some tips for all women — whether you are simply menstrual, post-pregnancy, pre-menopausal or in full blown menopause.
1. Consistency is the key.
As your body is going through changes, having a set time of day that you focus on yourself is important. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes doing something that you enjoy. Exercising at the same time each day helps to create a sense of routine which can mentally give you a boost and make you feel accomplished. Having control of something during a time when physical changes seem so out of your control is essential.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of walking.
Walking is a fantastic form of cardiovascular exercise for people of all ages. You can add in a challenge by walking uphill, or perform some lunges along the way to strengthen your legs. When you are suffering from hot flashes, performing high-intensity workouts may make you feel worse so a low-intensity routine is best.
3. Take a class.
Exercise with a group or treat yourself to a personal training session. As women, we naturally feel better when we feel like we have a support system, the added sense of accountability that comes from meeting someone for a workout will help keep you focused.
Do These Moves
My two favorite exercises that focus on your core stability have helped me to feel strong both after pregnancy and hysterectomy. They require you to locate your tummy muscles and pull them in, which over time helps with posture.
1. Forearm Plank (60 seconds)
How to: Place your forearms on your exercise mat in line with your shoulders. Plant your toes into the ground, so that you are using your core strength to hold your forearm plank. Take deep breaths and be sure not to put too much pressure on your neck or back. Your abs should be working to hold you up.
See Also: How to Do a Plank Correctly
2. Glute Bridge (60 seconds)
I like this move because it really works your core muscles, hamstrings and glutes. It’s easy to do and requires no equipment.
How to: Start out by lying flat on the floor, bend one knee at a time and place your feet flat on the floor. Your heels should be about 12 inches away from your glutes and hip-width distance apart. Get comfortable in this position. The aim is to lift your hips up off the floor into a bridge position. To do this you push through your heels to lift your butt off the floor, at the top of the movement pause and squeeze your glutes then gently lower back down.
Tip: Don’t push up too high as you will stress your lower back. And ensure your body weight is distributed through your heels and upper back — at no time should you feel like your body weight is on your neck.
Samantha Clayton is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife, and as a former competitive sprinter and fitness expert, this is the perfect role for her! Married with four young children, Samantha understands how difficult it can be to make fitness a priority but it’s her passion to reawaken everyone’s urge to exercise.