Menopause, even the surgical kind, is not a disease. A woman’s body was created to go through this transition naturally, without interference. Three things that can help lessen or alleviate symptoms include exercise, proper nutrition, and consistent effort to reduce stress.
Exercise can have powerful benefits before, during, and after menopause
Fitness experts recommend exercising aerobically three to five times per week for twenty to sixty minutes. Add in weight-bearing exercise two times a week, focusing on strengthening all major body parts. Flexibility can be accomplished through active stretching or yoga.
Exercise has always helped me to relieve stress and release excess energy. Cycling was and continues to be a tool that helps me through the stress and hormonal fluctuations of menopause. Strength training allows me to maintain and build lean muscle, which helps to speed up my metabolism, which helps with weight management. I have found that when it comes to exercise, it is most important to find what you love and then to do it with consistency. You may need to explore a few things to discover what that is for you.
As you ease into fitness, the first step is to start building healthy habits. There were days when all you may have the energy for is a five-minute walk. So, do that. And do it every day, multiple times. Make it habitual. Every day or so, add another minute in duration.
It is natural to feel intimidated when starting an exercise program even without the symptoms of menopause. I find working with a personal trainer to be extremely helpful. Many trainers will offer introductory specials to help you get started. A good personal trainer can create a customized program that balances cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility exercise. All three are important at this time in your life to build muscle and strength, burn body fat, and rev your metabolism.
Every day our bodies require vital nutrients to function. Certain foods can minimize our menopausal symptoms, while others, such as caffeine, can exacerbate them.
Some things that will minimize menopausal symptoms include water, flaxseeds, almonds, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and kale. Broccoli, cabbage, kale, nuts, seeds, legumes/beans, avocado, wild-caught salmon, halibut, sardines, coconut milk, kombucha, and sauerkraut can also help manage menopausal symptoms.
Foods that can exacerbate menopausal symptoms include
- Salty processed foods.
- Spicy foods.
- High saturated fat and sugar.
Chronic stress that goes untreated can affect body, mind, and emotions. It can also make menopausal symptoms worse. To find balance and avoid burnout, it is critical that you find ways to reduce stress.
Here are a few ideas for reducing stress in your life:
- Cross off the morning and evening hours on you calendar and schedule those as sacred “me” time.
- Build in time in your schedule for extra rest. Sleep in late, go to bed earlier, take a nap!
- Practice yoga.
- Enjoy some self-care to relax during a massage, mani/pedi, or an hour with a girlfriend.
- Play. Doing more of what we love is a quick tool to reduce stress.
The good news is that menopause is manageable. Exercise, nutrition and stress reduction can reduce the intensity and duration of your symptoms, while helping you to find balance in mind, body and spirit.
To learn more about how to navigate menopause, check out my course
"Balanced Wellness during Menopause" click below: