Menopause……. How to stay Fit, not Fat

Posted: February 6, 2012

Yep, I have said the “M” word! Yuk, I hate it…..but, I will not let it rule my life.  As women go through menopause, they have to really fine tune a lot of things. Staying fit before it hits is key. Adding or changing your diet and workouts will be what makes you get through it, without it taking over. 

Most importantly, realize that your hormones rule many things. Moods, body fat, where, and how you store fat, and energy levels. The dip in estrogen can wreak havoc in many ways. If you are on HRT therapy, or trying to get thru on your own, there are many things that will help you keep your sanity(sometimes haha)., and your figure.

Adding interval training can do several things. It can help your body burn from your fat stores, while keeping your muscles strong. Studies have show that bone density drops more pre-menopause, than during, so if you aren’t already involved in strength training, it is not too late. Incorporate weights, and intervals into two workouts per week, and make sure you stay flexible. Strength, is just as important as flexibility as you age. Use a program that incorporates complex moves using large muscle groups. Work your way up to a workout plan that challenges your body, with strength, cardio, and flexibilty.  Incorporate moves like planks, and stability ball crunches to get the full benefit of strengthening your core. Add pushing motions, followed by pulling motions to keep the body balanced. Try standing exercises, and unilateral movements(one side of body at a time). The body will adapt, so keep it guessing.

It does not matter how long you work out. What matters, is that it is hard enough to force your muscles to adapt. If you are working out with 3-5 lb dumb bells, time to move up in weights. The best gauge in strength for each muscle  is if you are starting a weight training program, form is everything. The next step is to add more weight if you can do a set of more than 8-10 reps comfortably. Concentrating on how your body feels, and paying attention to the full range of motion of your muscles is how you will start to feel, and see a difference. Hire a trainer to set up a program that you will stick to, or find a class that is good for your age group. Resistance training is key. 

Most weight gain during menopause is in the middle of the body. This is why women are more prone to heart disease at this time. Excess body fat surrounding your heart, and organs is nothing to ignore. Clean up your diet. Make sure your fat intake is from healthy sources. Omega 3’s, fish oils, borage seed oil, primrose oils. Avocado, flax oils, and olive oil. Saturated fat does not convert to energy. It sits there. Eat 4-5 smaller meals daily,that contain protein, complex carbs, and health fats last. Skipping meals is the worst thing you can do. Keep your metabolism in high gear with exercise, diet, and hydration. 

Find a doctor or health practitioner that specializes in women’s health. Bio identical hormone replacement is something to familiarize yourself with if you chose to take this route. Above all, don’t just sit there and think this will pass. You have a good amount of control of your body at all times. It is up to you to educate  yourself as you age, so that it is an enjoyable process. We all will have times where our bodies are changing. Learn ways to cope, and help the process along so that future looks like something to look forward to, not something to be afraid of.

Check with your doctor before starting any workout plan, or diet. Get regular check ups that include full hormone work ups. Know your #s, and what they mean. Ask questions, understand the answers. Find a doctor that takes their time, and WANTS you to be a part of your own health. It is yours. Treat it with respect.

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