By: Kerry Moynihan
Certified Personal Trainer
Life is a winding road and for we women, menopause is a rest stop on the journey.
Those of us “of that certain age”, grasp the realities of menopause: lower estrogen levels, slower metabolic rate (the rate at which our body converts stored energy to working energy), declining muscle mass and bone density. This life stage requires some lifestyle adjustments. We need to meet the changing needs of our bodies in order to age with the good health and continued mobility we all desire. The question becomes, How?
Two words, EXERCISE and NUTRITION.
The reality is that the rate at which we expend energy during exercise declines at this point in our lives. What worked at age 30 won’t necessarily be our golden ticket at 55. Bottom line, increased time and intensity of exercise is important to lower our risk of osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome and heart and lung issues.
STRENGTH TRAINING or weight resistance training is key in developing the muscle that protects our bones by increasing its mass and improving our metabolism. Shoot for gym time two to three times a week and incorporate dumbbells, kettle bells, and resistance bands, as an example.
AEROBIC exercise keeps us heart and lung healthy and burns extra calories. Pick your poison: swimming, rowing, cycling, dancing…….
Our goal should be 30 minutes of the exercise of our choice most, if not all, days of the week. An added tip….take the stairs and bypass that elevator. Just keep moving!!
Mix it up. Do different and unique activities to keep the interest factor elevated. And grab a partner. Exercising is so much more enjoyable with a friend and frankly science backs the fact that it’s a mood booster, too. Make it fun. Final note, consult your physician if you have any concerns about starting a new program.
Let’s talk NUTRITION. My “full bag of Doritos for a snack” days are sadly over. But frankly, I’d rather feel great with better choices than salt overload knowing that I’m taxing my body. So the key word here is CHOICES. Choose whole grains, natural fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy snacks like frozen grapes or blueberries, which are delicious. Processed foods are not fabulous, so bypass that supermarket aisle. And time your dinner meal so that it isn’t too close to bedtime. Personally, I find my food tracker phone app helpful in tracking my daily protein goals. Lastly, portion control is important. That chicken breast should be the size of your palm, not the super sized forearm portion at your favorite local diner.
Hot flashes aside, Folks, this stage in life is pretty great. It’s in our power to be happy, healthy and active.