Your 40’s and 50’s can be challenging decades when it comes to exercise, diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Most women find themselves beginning to transition from their reproductive years into peri-menopause or menopause during these decades. As the hormonal levels shift, your current exercise routine may no longer provide the full benefits that you need or help you consistently maintain bone density, muscle tone and weight.
As estrogen levels dip, your brain sends a signal to your body to hold on to fat. Why? Because your body can continue to extract estrogen from the fat cells. The dreaded muffin top can appear because the preferred settlement of these fat cells is your midsection.
There is hope! Establishing a consistent exercise routine will also provide you with increased energy, clarity of mind, better sleep and relief of depressive and menopausal symptoms.
Every woman’s body is different. Try all of the recommended exercise routines below and see which one works for you and you enjoy the most. They all help build muscle, increase bone density, lower blood pressure and help with a good night’s sleep.
Yoga: A vigorous yoga workout like Vinyasa or Ashtanga will increase your heart rate, strengthen bone, and increase flexibility. Vinyasa Yoga or flow, links movement and breath. The pace between poses may be quick as you flow from one pose to the next. Your heartrate will increase, and you will be in continuous movement depending on level of class and instructor.
Ashtanga yoga consists of six series of specifically sequenced poses. Each pose is connected to breath, and heart rate and body heat increase as you move from pose to pose, and series to series. Once you learn the sequence you can practice Ashtanga anywhere in the world!
Wait! There’s more good yoga news. The Physical Fitness Research Institute in Japan studied a group of middle aged Japanese women. They found that just 10 minutes of daily yogic stretching decreased menopausal and depression. Those women that stretched before bed found that hot flashes, sleep disturbances, muscle or join pains and irritability greatly decreased.
Weight Bearing: As estrogen levels begin to decrease bone density is effected. To increase bone mass, boost energy, improve sleep and metabolism, introduce weight bearing exercises into your exercise routine. Most adults will lose between 5 to 7 pounds of muscle every decade as they enter middle aged.
Kettlebells can help stave off muscle loss and whittle your waist. Using kettlebells in your weight bearing routine can help build strength, stamina and lose body fat and inches around the waist, thighs and arms. Look for a weight bearing class that incorporates kettlebells, you’ll thank us later.
High Intensity-Interval Training (HIIT): Ready to burn more calories and fat in a shorter amount of time? One of the best ways to do this is through HIIT Training or High intensity-interval training. This workout involves intervals of high intensity work out like jumping, squatting, running between short periods of rest. Some of the great benefits include building endurance, boosting metabolism, burning and losing fat, gaining muscle and increasing muscle tone. HIIT interval training done 3 to 5 times a week for at least 45 minutes will help manage your weight in menopause as well as stave off the dreaded muffin roll.
Endurance Training: Running, swimming, and cycling are all considered endurance training. If hitting the gym is not your idea of fun, then becoming a long-range runner, cyclist or swimmer may be the answer. This type of weight management training can help you lower your heart rate, regulate your blood pressure, burn fat, calories and decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. Not one to challenge yourself alone? Join a running club, cycling club, or swimming club! You’ll challenge yourself as you learn new techniques and increase your circle of friends.
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