The Surprising Ways Exercise Helps With Menopausal Challenges
Want to know how exercise can be your secret weapon against more than just weight gain at menopause? Join me as I spill the tea on how exercise can tackle bloating, hot flashes, joint pain, low libido, painful sex, and God awful fatigue! Let's rewrite the menopause narrative together.
Walking after dinner is an awesome strategy for aiding digestion (and it SO improves your quality of life)! Aerobic exercise at any time, keeps things moving and helps manage cortisol - preventing your body from storing fat around your middle. Core exercises and stretches that involve twisting and putting pressure on your innards, give the intestines a bit of a massage and help gas move through the body. And finally, drinking plenty of water before, during, and after workouts helps with constipation and flushing out excess toxins and sodium.
Regulates Hot Flashes
While exercise might make you feel hot in the moment, it regulates your core temperature overall and reduces hot flashes. Regular physical activity prompts the creation of more blood vessels - which help blood to flow to the surface to cool down during a hot flash. Additionally, controlled breathing, like the kind you do in a yoga class, is said to help prevent the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
Prevents Joint Pain
Joints get stiff and painful when you DON’T move them (or if you overdo it). The objective is to monitor and preserve the full range of motion in each of your joints. In addition, you want the muscles around your joints to be in optimal condition to keep joints moving in the correct plane of motion. Strengthening exercise, including resistance and anaerobic training (sometimes in the form of physical therapy) helps with stability. Dynamic and static stretches help with mobility.
Boosts Libido and Makes Sex More Comfortable
Believe it or not, exercise can benefit your sex life in a major way. Sexual arousal's physiological aspect depends on increased blood flow. Exercise boosts circulation, promoting enhanced blood flow throughout the entire body, including the genital region. This contributes to improved lubrication. Additionally, the surge of feel-good endorphins and heightened activity in your sympathetic nervous system after exercise leave you ready to roll. Plus - let's not forget – exercise is a stress-buster, and managing stress is a key player in unlocking arousal for many women.
It can be hard to kick start an exercise program when you're feeling tired, but aerobic workouts improve your energy levels fast. Once you adapt to exercise that elevates your heart rate, tackling comparatively easier tasks in daily life becomes easier. Over time, your body starts to crave cardio sessions, heightening your energy levels in anticipation! Additionally, working out helps give you more energy by helping you sleep better - just be mindful not to overdo it or do high intensity workouts right before bed!
So there you have it. There is hope. Alongside weight management, you can use exercise for menopause - to combat bloating, hot flashes, joint pain, low libido, painful sex, and lack of energy as part of a holistic approach.
Aim for 2 full body workouts per week and to be active every day. I hope you will workout with me sometime soon. In the meantime to help kick start your fitness journey, I've got a little gift for you - if you haven't already, download my free exercise motivation journal to tap into your deeper motivations and supercharge your willpower.
Stay fit, stay fabulous,
Exercise training reduces the frequency of menopausal hot flushes by improving thermoregulatory control
Functions of Blood: regulation
The Science of Saving Your Sex Life
The Effects of Exercise on Sexual Function in Women
The Effects of Acute Exercise on Physiological Sexual Arousal in Women
Today I'm reminding you of all the incredible things sleep does for bodies and minds - from memory and mood improvement to blood pressure management, a strong immune system - and even stronger bones!
WHY YOU SHOULD PRIORITIZE SLEEP
Mind & Mood
You know that annoying feeling when you can't remember where the heck you left your car keys? Well, good sleep can help you avoid those brain-fog moments and even supercharge your problem-solving skills. We've all been there, feeling a bit irritable when we're short on sleep. But it goes beyond just moodiness; catching enough Zs is crucial for taking care of your mental well-being.
Getting enough shut-eye is like a secret weapon for keeping your blood pressure in check and lowering the risk of heart disease. It even gives your immune system a power-up and ensures your bones stay strong and healthy!
Weight Loss & Fitness
Having a good night's sleep the night before a workout makes them SO much easier. Sleep regulates your hunger hormones too, so you will eat less overall. As an added bonus, good sleep, plus workouts, will keep your skin looking beautiful! GRAB A FREE WORKOUT WITH ME
So there you have it, the benefits of quality sleep are awe inspiring (in my opinion anyway), spanning from a better ability to think and improved mood to supporting bone health, heart health, and physical fitness! I hope I've inspired you to show your sleep schedule a little love.
Next week, I'll be giving you some tips on how to sleep better.
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Stay fit, stay fabulous, Clara x
Insomnia with objective short sleep duration is associated with cognitive impairment: a first look at cardiometabolic contributors to brain health
The effect of sleep deprivation and restriction on mood, emotion, and emotion regulation: three meta-analyses in one
Diagnostic and Therapeutic Approach to Sleep Disorders, High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Diseases: A Consensus Document by the Italian Society of Hypertension (SIIA)
The Importance of the Circadian System & Sleep for Bone Health
Self-reported Sleep Quality and Bone Outcomes in Older Adults: Findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study
Work Smarter, Not Longer.
Today I’m giving you a quick and effective workout strategy that doesn't sacrifice too much of your precious time.
Before I get started let me introduce myself as it's been a while. You know how we start thinking about how to stay strong and healthy as we age? Well I take women in their 50s and 60s through 2 live online workout sessions a week that are tailored to their specific needs so that they can stay vibrant, fit, and healthy. My clients are stronger, fitter and more toned than they were in their 40s!
Ok, here's your workout strategy.
The key is to focus on one group of muscles each session. This approach lets you save time by only having to warm up and stretch the muscles you'll be working. So, let's break it down. If you're not feeling motivated to exercise I've got some tips for you here.
What Will I Be Doing? - Compound Exercises
These exercises engage multiple muscle groups at once, so you can make every second of your workout count. Compound exercises like squats, dead lifts, and push-ups not only help you build muscle but also burn heaps of calories during the workout.
What’s The Benefit? - Burn Calories, Reduce Belly Fat
The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism becomes, and the more calories you burn throughout the day. Burned calories don't get stored as fat on your belly. You won't bulk up like a bodybuilder; you'll just get more toned.
How Will I Do It?
To keep things simple and super effective, here's a sample of how you can divide up muscle groups:
Remember, it's crucial to get your form right and to choose exercises that work for YOUR body. I’d be happy to take you through some workouts to see what's good for you. Book a free session.
So, there you have it – a quick and efficient workout plan that won't eat up your precious time but will definitely help you stay in shape and boost your metabolism. Happy sweating.
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Stay fit, stay fabulous,
I know you're already aware that working out in your 50s and 60s is not the same as in those energetic 30s and 40s! I hope you're also finding out that it's still possible to have an awesome, effective workout routine.
Let's dive into some vital tweaks that'll keep you fit and fabulous for as long as you want.
Listen To Your Body
It was never a good idea to power through aches and pains but now you certainly can’t get away with it! When you're attuned to your body's signals you can notice a decrease in flexibility or strength in certain areas and address it. You have a chance to adapt your workouts to what your body can handle, so you don't have to give up your favorite kind of exercise.
Work With Your Joints Not Against Them
Focus on preparation and recovery. A good warm up takes each joint through its natural range of motion and also gets the blood pumping through your body. Warm muscles and tendons are less prone to injury.
Holding a stretch for 30 seconds+, foam rolling and Epsom salt baths work wonders for recovery. The goal is to get out ahead of diminishing mobility so we don't turn into the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz!
Less Cardio, More Resistance Training
Muscles keep us looking youthful and maintaining strength and independence as we age. We start losing muscle mass as young as 30 (3-8% per decade) and this accelerates over time. We also lose about 1% of our bone density every year after the big 50. Strong bones are your secret weapon to staying out of the "I broke a hip" club. Grab a FREE WORKOUT with me
The only way to counteract this loss is to rebuild muscle and bone density. That's where resistance or anaerobic training comes into play. When we do this kind of exercise, be it weight lifting or body weight exercises, our muscles pull on our bones, prompting them to grow stronger. These muscles also help us stand tall, avoiding that hunched-over look!
Muscle isn't regained without protein. Divide your weight in pounds by half. That is how many grams of protein you need daily as a MINIMUM to grow and maintain muscle (170lb = 85g protein). The western diet is low on protein. It’s not very instinctive to get enough.
Balance Your Food
You know about a well balanced diet. Eat whole foods, drink half a gallon of water a day and consume as many vegetables as your digestive system can handle! Certain foods like dairy, coffee and wheat may start causing inflammation in your joints so they may need to be reduced or axed. Alas.
Check Your Calcium & Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are your bones’ best friends. Ask your doctor to check your levels and, if necessary, supplement with a soft gel D3 (take with fat) and Calcium Citrate (more readily absorbed than carbonate and does not cause constipation). Over 50s multivitamins are pretty good. If you research the upper limits or consult with a doctor, don’t be afraid to take more than the RDA. The RDA is just the minimum required to avoid deficiency, not what is necessarily optimal. Herbal teas such as nettle can be of great help too with calcium, magnesium and other good stuff.
So There You Have It.
Maintaining a workout routine after 50 doesn't require drastic changes.
Prioritize resistance training, mobility and body awareness with smart preparation and recovery.
Keep a balanced, protein-rich diet with Vitamin D3 and calcium supplementation if needed.
Here’s a checklist:
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What Women Need to Know
Calcium and Vitamin D
Muscle tissue changes with aging
Choosing a calcium supplement
Nutritional and pharmacological importance of stinging nettle
Clara Depont is a certified personal trainer at www.claradepont.com where she trains women in their 50s and beyond. When she’s not writing blogs on how to stay vibrant, fit and happy she’s traveling in search of a forest or a sexy coastline. You can get to know her best through Weekly Emails, Instagram or Facebook. She is British and lives in New Mexico.
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