Deccan Chronicle

Stay Fit in Menopause

Deccan Chronicle.| Bindu Gopal Rao

Published on: August 21, 2023 | Updated on: August 21, 2023

Menopause is when women see visible changes in their body that also impacts their physical and mental wellbeing

To prevent complications, all menopausal women should indulge in aerobic exercises, resistance exercises, and balance training.

To prevent complications, all menopausal women should indulge in aerobic exercises, resistance exercises, and balance training.

Menopause is a period of transition in a woman’s life that marks the permanent stoppage of periods. It usually occurs between 45 to 55 years of age. Due to reduced estrogen production from the ovaries, several changes take place which can lead to reduced muscle mass and strength, low bone density, and increased abdominal obesity. To prevent complications, all menopausal women should indulge in aerobic exercises, resistance exercises, and balance training.

Fitness Fix

Some exercises during menopause include brisk walking, strength training, yoga, and swimming to help manage weight, maintain bone health, and reduce stress. Dr. Nanda Rajaneesh, laparoscopic surgeon, general surgeon, bariatric surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore, says, "high-impact exercises like running or jumping should be approached with caution due to potential joint strain. Consult a doctor before starting intense workouts. High-intensity exercises are to be engaged in, only after a certain level of fitness is attained with the help of a trainer."
Doing body weight exercises such as squats, plants or push ups, lifting kettlebells, dumbbells, doing Yoga or Pilates, resistance - based gym machines are advisable.

Abdominal Woes

Core-focused exercises like planks, bicycle crunches, and leg raises can help target abdominal fat in women. Maintaining an overall calorie deficit and engaging in low-intensity cardio exercises also help. Dr Seema Jain, director, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh says, "start with a mix of moderate and vigorous exercise, your routine should include aerobic exercise like swimming, walking, bicycling, and running as well as resistance or strength training."

Prop Push

Props like resistance bands, stability balls, and yoga blocks can enhance workouts by adding resistance and support. Yoga belts or straps can help you get into stretching poses while chairs can help people with limited mobility to perform certain poses. Blocks/Yoga bricks can help strengthen or keep you in a pose and bricks provide comfort and correct posture. Dr. Poornima Ramakrishna, senior consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist, Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, says, "Swiss Ball can be used as a prop for help. Swiss balls are large inflatable balls that can be used for a variety of exercises, such as stretches, balance exercises, and core strengthening exercises. Sitting on the ball with hands on the bed and rotating the hip slowly will help. They can be helpful for women who are experiencing joint pain or stiffness, as they provide support and cushioning."

Be Active

Staying active during menopause can aid in managing symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. Remember to prioritise balanced nutrition and consult a healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine. Dr. Preetha R, associate professor, dept. of Physiotherapy, Manipal College of Health Professions (MCHP), Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, says, "Cardiorespiratory fitness is of great value in this phase as it protects women from accumulating excess fat in the abdomen. To achieve this fitness, guidelines suggest 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or exercise which involves increased breathing and talking is a slight struggle. This can include warm-up for five minutes with gentle movements of all major joints and muscles followed by 15-20 minutes of low-impact, weight-bearing aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, staircase climbing, swimming, dancing, static cycling, or yoga. End with a cool down for five minutes with gentle stretches."

Take Care

Exercise for women with osteoporosis should not include high impact aerobics or activities in which a fall is likely, such as exercising on slippery floors or step aerobics. Activities requiring repeated or resisted trunk flexion, such as sit-ups or toe touches should be avoided because of the increased load placed on the spine — may result in spine fractures. Menopause does restrict the exercise routine. However, it is important to listen to the body and talk to a medical expert before starting any new exercise program. "Some women may need to avoid strenuous exercises in hot weather or to wear loose-fitting clothing that wicks away moisture," adds Ramakrishna. Daily chores, outdoor sun exposure, and exercise enhance bone health by aiding calcium absorption and vitamin D synthesis.

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