Mad, Menopausal Grandmas!

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We’ve reached the age where we’ve become members of ‘the post menopause club’! It certainly wasn’t one that I wanted to join. I, like many others, worried about the physical and emotional changes that my body would go through. It can certainly bring with it several challenges, including hot flushes, sleep disturbances, mood swings, irritability, anxiousness, changes in libido and the feeling that you’re going mad, as well as an increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular issues.

I wanted to cope with the menopause, and being a grandma is the best thing in the world, but I didn’t want to feel that I was going mad! I looked at my diet and exercise plans and upped my game. I didn’t follow a specific nutrition plan as I love food and don’t believe in cutting out any specific food groups, but I did drastically cut down on sugar, kept my portion sizes in check, stopped eating before I was full and increased the amount of water that I drank. I stopped late night snacking (I’m talking 9pm onwards) as this always made me feel worse in the morning and increased the amount of exercise that I was doing, making sure to include more resistance/weight training. These were all small changes for me that I found easy to incorporate into my life. Remember to make small changes and make them habits before moving on to the next change. Your habits will determine how you live your life, and you do need to put the effort in. It’s a bit like revising for an exam, the effort you put in gives you the result that you want, and we’d all like an A+ when it comes to our health and fitness.

It’s not all doom and gloom, from the practical side of things, we don’t have to worry about periods anymore including pain, discomfort, cramps and bloating, as well as the cost of menstrual products and the worry of getting pregnant. Many of us find that we have much more time for ourselves as the kids are grown up and are either going off to university or leaving home. We have the time to focus on personal goals, hobbies, travel or your career, or all of them 😊

Perimenopause can be a tough ride for some but once you’ve navigated that journey and come out of the other side there are many things to look forward to.

You should find that you sleep better once the night sweats have passed (if you were unfortunate to suffer with them), your mood should settle as hormones become more regulated, leaving you feeling happier, calmer and less anxious, menopausal headaches and migraines should ease off, you will feel more confident (menopausal symptoms are great for knocking confidence), you should have fewer colds and you will have more freedom. However, we want to be fit and strong enough to be able to do all these things for many years to come. I certainly want to be able to run around with Poppy (and any other grandchildren that may come along 😉) and have the stamina to do what she wants to do, without needing to sit down for a rest!  Exercise allows me to do that. I want to be the lady who is exercising, cooking, cleaning my house, travelling, playing with the kids and living life to the full, not the lady sat in a chair in a nursing home waiting for someone to bring her dinner to her. Strong words, I know, but something to think about! 

So, here is why exercise is so important both during and after menopause:

Exercising after menopause is essential! There are so many benefits, apart from the obvious one of being physically able to move and do the things that you want to do. 

  1. Weight-bearing exercise helps maintain bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Physical activities such as walking, running and strength training put stress on your bones and the way in which your body responds is to increase bone density, making them stronger.
  2. Hormonal changes through menopause can make weight control more challenging but regular exercise helps to control weight which is crucial as the metabolism slows down during this time.  Exercise boosts the metabolism by increasing calorie expenditure, especially if you are doing both strength training and aerobic exercise.
  3. Exercise helps to lower the risk of heart disease, which can increase after menopause. Strength training increases muscle mass which leads to a higher resting metabolic rate, and this is turn helps with managing weight and preventing obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Resistance training can help to reduce blood pressure which is essential for good heart health. It may also positively influence lipid profiles by increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol) and decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol). It improves insulin sensitivity, helping to regulate blood sugar levels thereby reducing the risk of diabetes. Inflammation in the body is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and exercise helps to reduce this. Strength training has been linked to improved endothelial function which promotes healthier blood vessels (circulation) and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.
  4. Exercise releases those wonderful endorphins which improve mood and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. It lowers cortisol levels and reduces stress helping to manage emotional changes associated with menopause, as well as promoting better sleep.
  5. Regular movement and exercise can help to alleviate joint pain and stiffness. Strengthening the muscles around the joints helps to provide better support which is vital for weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. Exercise also improves blood circulation, delivering essential nutrients to the joints and helping in the removal of waste products. As regular exercise reduces inflammation in the body, this can also help to improve joint pain.
  6. Strength training helps to maintain muscle mass which naturally declines with age. Exercise, particularly resistance training, triggers protein synthesis, which is a naturally occurring metabolic process, where protein is produced to repair the damage to the muscles (micro tears in the muscle tissue), caused by exercise. The damaged muscle fibres are repaired and become stronger, increasing in size. Exercise can positively impact hormone levels including growth hormone and testosterone, both of which play key roles in muscle maintenance and development.

How much exercise should I do and what type?

The amount of exercise needed can vary depending on individual health, fitness levels and specific goals. Try to get a good balance of cardio and strength training, incorporating 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise and two to three 30-minute resistance training sessions. 

Put small changes in place now and help yourself to navigate menopause as easily as possible so that you can live your best life. After all, this time is now for us 😊 Let us help you to find the right fitness plan for you at  W Fitness where we offer the perfect full body workout on our 30-minute resistance training circuit (easy to squeeze into the busiest of days) and give yourself the best, strongest, fittest life that you can. 

Which woman do you want to be? 😊. 

Mad, Menopausal Grandmas! 1

Much Love

Caroline & Hannah xx