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Navigating Fitness After 50

Listen to Radio Menopause on Apple, Spotify, on our website - or wherever you get your podcasts!

Podcast Season 2 Episode 6 transcript.

Research shows that women often exercise less when they enter menopause. To further complicate matters, the metabolism also decreases during menopause. This is partly linked to the natural loss of muscle mass every year. Muscles burn more calories than fat, so whenever the muscle is not preserved with weight training, the body does not burn as many calories. There is also a tendency to increase the intake of calories. As the metabolism drops, many women do not know how or realise the importance of adjusting their calorie intake accordingly, which often leads to weight gain. 

Most clients ask me, "What exercises are best for menopausal women?" The secret is finding what works for you. Whether it's yoga, walking, strength training, or dance, choosing activities that bring you joy is key. Exercise isn't just about physical health; it's a powerful tool for managing stress, improving mood, and boosting confidence.

Exercise is an integral part of leading a healthy life during menopause. It has many benefits, the most important being maintaining muscle mass, bone mass, and strength. 

An exercise program for postmenopausal women should include a mix of

  1. endurance or aerobic exercise

  2. strength exercise and

  3. balance exercise. 

  1. You should aim for two hours and 30 minutes of moderate activity each week. 

  2. Be aware of your target heart rate range and track the exercise intensity using the talk test. To determine the maximum exercise heart rate, subtract your age from 220 and work out your target range. If this is too complicated for your liking, use the Talk Test! Moderate-intensity exercise should allow you to talk but not sing or be breathless. During vigorous aerobic exercise, such as step aerobics, you should be able to speak a few words but not carry on a conversation. The benefit of exercising at the target heart rate is that it increases the fitness and conditions of the lungs, heart, circulation, and muscles.

  3. Other deep breathing, yoga, and stretching exercises can help manage life’s stress and menopause-related symptoms. 

If you have osteoporosis, avoiding high-impact aerobics or activities in which a fall is likely is best.

  1. Exercise increases cardiorespiratory function. Regular exercise reduces the metabolic risks associated with declining oestrogen, such as diabetes. There is also an additional benefit of a reduced risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.

  2. Exercise can help create a calorie deficit and minimise midlife weight gain.

  3. It increases the bone mass. Strength training and impact activities (like walking or running) can help to offset the decline of bone mineral density and prevent osteoporosis.

  4. It has also been proven to reduce low back pain, stress, hot flushes and improves mood.


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