During menopause, women may start to experience waistline weight gain, reduced muscle mass and bone density. And while there’s no “one size fits all” solution, award-winning fitness app Gymondo, has shared their top tips for women to help them stay healthy and look after themselves during the midlife change.
Menopause comes with a whole host of symptoms, such as hot flushes, disrupted sleep, increased cravings, bloating, low energy and weight gain.
But by introducing some simple daily changes and swapping to healthy routines, women can support themselves during the hormonal change with a holistic approach and, in some cases, without the need for medication.
Gymondo’s experts revealed women could feel better in as little as a minute by taking some time to themselves.
“You’ll be surprised at how just 60 seconds can help you refocus and recharge,” they explained.
“The theme for World Menopause Day 2022 is Cognition and Mood. Micro-meditation will take you from a state of overstimulation to the present moment, with small bursts of mindfulness used to tackle negative thoughts, brain fog, feelings of stress and lack of energy .”
When a person is stressed, their cortisol levels rise. Cortisol is a natural stress hormone and is responsible for regulating metabolism.
People can control their cortisol levels by finding time for relaxation and improving their diet and exercise routines.
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Short bouts of intense cardio
It’s long been said that shorter workouts are “more effective” for menopausal women, as overdoing it with long bouts of cardio can “accelerate the aging process”.
The health experts said: “Putting the body under prolonged stress produces free radicals that can damage cells and cause inflammation while increasing cortisol levels.”
But fortunately, they identified an approach to cardio that tricks a woman’s metabolism into burning belly fat first.
“By focusing on short bouts (20 to 30 minutes) of intense moves, using multi-muscle movements and resistance training, you’ll target your trouble area, increase your metabolism and boost mood,” they explained.
Neurotransmitters are responsible for the release of serotonin and norepinephrine – known as ‘happiness hormones’.
“The most natural way to release these powerful neurotransmitters is through exercise. Post-workout effects include the release of endorphins, improved self-efficacy and diminished stress. It’s a win-win.”
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Engage in strength training
After a person hits 40 years old, they can gain around a pound of fat per year, which significantly slows down metabolism.
For women, estrogen production starts to decline during perimenopause, which causes the bone rebuilding process to slow down.
Age-related muscle loss is also a natural part of aging, with people over 30 losing three to five percent per decade.
Gymondo said: “Engaging in resistance training is scientifically proven to counteract muscle loss and help maintain a healthy skeletal system in older adults.
“Adding a 20-30 minute strength training program to your schedule at least two-three times a week will counteract muscle and bone loss.”
The experts added: “According to research, strength training compared to aerobic exercise can “burn more fat” and increases muscle mass.”
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Focus on healthy calories
Gymondo reveled people should be building their meals around low glycemic index (GI) foods that won’t spike blood glucose levels, including lean proteins, healthy fats, veggies and whole grains.
Foods that should be cut back include starchy carbs—bread, pasta, potatoes and baked goods. The experts highlighted how “important” it is during midlife that women increase their protein intake.
“Protein can also help ward off cravings and keep blood sugar levels from elevating,” they said.
“Fibre is another go-to during perimenopause, since it helps you feel fuller for longer periods of time, which curbs cravings.
“Aim for at least 21 grams of fiber each day including fruits, veggies, whole grains and beans.”
Replacing fizzy drinks with sparkling water and opting for filtered coffee with a splash of milk instead of a latte can also help cut unnecessary calories.
Alcohol is also full of hidden calories and while it may be people’s “go-to” for winding down at the end of a long day, drinking has been proven to significantly increase cortisol levels, leading to weight gain, slowed metabolism and insomnia.
“It also increases blood pressure and anxiety,” the experts added. “If you’ve reached the age of perimenopause, limit your alcohol intake to keep off that extra weight around the midsection.”