Menopause, Weight Gain, and Exercise Tips
How Exercise Helps With Weight After Menopause
The more active you are, the less weight you're likely to gain. A National Institutes of Health review showed that people who did aerobic activities every day for 10 or more minutes had 6 fewer inches around the waistline compared to people who didn't exercise. And exercising while you're in the process of losing weight -- as well as after you've lost it -- may be critical to maintaining weight loss.
Other Benefits of Exercise After Menopause
Exercise has many other perks aside from weight loss, including:
- Lower risk of osteoporosis
- Lower risks of metabolic syndrome, heart attack, and other cardiovascular diseases
- Improved insulin resistance
- Keeps joints and muscles strong
- Helps bowels work well
- Relieves depression and anxiety
- Improves overall health
Good Exercise Choices After Menopause
What types of exercise can best help you lose and maintain weight after menopause?
- Strength training, or a weight-resistance exercise program, helps build muscle mass and improve metabolism. Strength training also helps you maintain bone mass. Because you lose muscle mass as you age, add strength training to your workouts, if you haven't before. Aim for two or three times a week. Examples of strength training include weight machines, dumbbells, exercise bands, yoga, and gardening.
- Low-impact aerobics are good for your heart and lungs. Walking, for example, is one of the best choices, because you can do it anywhere, anytime. Other examples of aerobic exercises include swimming, cycling, aerobics, tennis, and dance. Exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes most, if not all, days of the week.
- Whenever you can, add activity to your day. Wash the car, play hide and seek with your kids or grandchildren, get in a game of ping pong, etc.
Other Exercise Tips to Help Ensure Success
Before you begin exercising:
- Talk to your doctor about a new exercise program. Choose activities you enjoy so you'll stick with your workouts.
- Find an exercise partner to help you stay motivated.
- Buy supportive shoes -- the right ones for your activity.
- Pick a start date and start.
After you begin exercising:
- Allow at least 10 minutes to warm up before starting to exercise rigorously. To do this, choose an activity that gently works major muscles.
- Before you work out, stretch the muscles that will absorb most of the shock of your exercise routine.
- If you have any new pain while exercising, stop and let your doctor know.
- Gradually boost the distance, length, or intensity of your workout.
- Mix it up. Do different exercises to keep from getting bored and to keep your body challenged.
For the best fitness results, combine your exercise efforts with good nutrition. Here are just a few tips:
- Choose whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
- Stay away from processed foods.
- Keep a food diary, or explore programs for your computer or apps for your cell phone, to help you watch how many calories you eat.
- Don't eat too late in the evening.
- When you eat out, take half the serving home.
- Eat smaller amounts but more often.