Exercise is always highly recommended for any woman trying to improve her overall health, but did you know that getting regular physical exercise can also do wonders to improve your reproductive health and wellness? It’s true. Keeping active can be a great way to help promote good gynecological health and manage the common symptoms of menopause.
The perimenopause period refers to the months or years leading up to the onset of full menopause, when women begin to experience menopause symptoms. These symptoms are typically caused by fluctuating levels of estrogen produced by the ovaries. They may include irregular bleeding, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, headaches, urinary incontinence, and more. However, since every woman is unique, both the symptoms and degree to which they occur can vary considerably from person-to-person.
Working out has been proven to help ease a woman’s transition into menopause by helping to relieve physical and emotional stress. It’s normal for women to gain weight and lose muscle mass during the perimenopause period, but regular exercise can help prevent weight gain and keep muscles strong. Menopause has also been linked to osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones caused by a lack of estrogen in the body. Staying physically active can slow bone loss during menopause. Staying physically fit during menopause and limiting weight gain can also dramatically decrease a woman’s chances of developing common illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. Lastly, there can be significant mental and emotional benefits to exercising during menopause including staving off depression and anxiety.
We agree with the recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that healthy women should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of more strenuous aerobic activity, every week. How you achieve this target goal is totally up to you. Cardio activities ranging from jogging and swimming to evening walks or even regular daily activities like gardening or housework can be extremely beneficial. Strength training exercises like lifting weights can help build up bone and muscle strength, burn body fat, and improve your metabolism. Just be careful not to push yourself too hard. Start with a weight level you are comfortable with and gradually increase it as your strength improves. Additionally, post-work out stretching can be a great way to improve your flexibility.
Remember not to do too much, too fast. It’s important to set realistic, achievable goals from the start and work your way up as your strength and fitness level increase. Keeping active doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor either. Teaming up with someone, whether it is a significant other, a friend, or a trainer, can help make your workouts more enjoyable to get through. At Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we host bi-weekly boot camps for patients who want to spend time with like-minded women while improving their overall physical health and wellbeing. For more information or to request an appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, news, and updates on our upcoming health and wellness events.