Exercise Does the Body Good for Menopausal Women
What are the symptoms and body changes associated with menopause?
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Bone loss
- Weight gain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Mood disturbances (e.g., irritability, anger, etc.,)
- Promotes weight management and improves body composition, particularly by helping to reduce abdominal fat which has been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Enhances mood and helps to relieve anxiety.
- Improves quality of sleep.
- Increases energy levels.
- Reduces risk of, and complications from, osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise stimulates bone activity, resulting in stronger bones.
- Promotes bone health and reduces risk of osteoporosis by stimulating bone activity which strenghtens bones.
- Decreases risk of falls and bone fractures by improving balance and bone and muscular strength.
- Helps with weight management and improves body composition.
- Increases range of motion and improves balance resulting in a decreased risk for falls and bone fractures.
- There is some scientific evidence to suggest that activities, such as Yoga, may reduce hot flashes during menopause.
- Current exercise recommendations are to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, with a goal to increase to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly. Weight-bearing activities that place demands on the skeletal system are preferable, unless an underlying health condition prevents participation. Brisk walking, jogging, hiking, and aerobic dance are good choices.
- Strength training exercises should be performed 2-3 times per week on nonconsecutive days. At least one set of 8 to 10 repetitions should be performed for all major muscle groups of the body.
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.
Sources for more information
ACSM Fit Society Page, Fall 2009, "Exercise Recommendations for Menopause-Aged Women," Eschbach, C.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The North American Menopause Society
American Council on Exercise