Losing Weight After the Menopause: The Importance of Exercise
Many women gain weight during the menopause so you may need to take steps to ensure that you don’t pile on too many excess pounds, for the sake of your health. Too many older women get less physical activity as they age, but exercise is an important part of either losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of exercise during and after the menopause.
Why the Menopause Causes Weight Gain
Shifting oestrogen levels can have a significant impact on your weight. It is believed that oestrogen helps to regulate body weight, and when you go through the menopause your oestrogen levels decrease. The drop in hormones may make you eat more while getting less physical activity, and may also lower your metabolic rate – the rate at which the body converts stored energy into working energy.
There are other age-related factors that might play a role in weight gain too. As you get older, you lose muscle mass, which has a negative impact on your metabolism and makes it easier for you to gain weight. The rate at which your body uses up energy during physical activity is also likely to decrease, which means you’ll have to do more exercise to reap the same weight-shedding benefits you’d gain from smaller amounts of exercise in the past.
Why Exercise is Essential for Losing Weight
Exercise is important no matter what your age, but if you want to reduce weight gain during the menopause, it’s essential. The more active you are, the less weight you’re likely to gain. While exercise may not help every woman avoid weight gain entirely, it will certainly do more to minimise it than hours spent sitting in front of the TV!
Try to fit plenty of aerobic activity into your routine, which includes jogging, fast walking, cycling and swimming. Aerobic exercise raises your breathing and heart rate, burning calories and helping you to keep excess pounds at bay. You should be trying to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, which can easily be broken up into small daily sessions.
You should also do regular strength training to help build muscle mass and improve metabolism. This includes doing yoga, using weight machines and lifting dumbbells. Even gardening can count.
It’s important to get into a routine that you can maintain long-term. Sticking with regular exercise both during the process of losing weight and after you’ve lost it is the key to maintaining any weight loss.
Remember, exercise has many other benefits too. It reduces your risk of a number of health conditions, including osteoporosis and heart disease. It also keeps your muscles and joints strong, and boosts your moods, lowering your risk of depression and anxiety.
How to Ensure Success
One of the best ways to ensure the success of your workouts is to choose physical activities you enjoy. These will fit nicely into your routine without feeling like a chore or obligation. If you like doing them, you’ll find it much easier to stick with them in the long term.
You might also find it helpful to exercise with a partner, as you’ll be able to keep each other motivated. Having someone meet with you to exercise can often make the difference between showing up and not exercising at all. You’re also likely to work harder when there’s someone around to see you doing so.
Combining your exercise efforts with good nutrition will give you the best fitness results, so make sure you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Meanwhile, stay away from processed foods!
While you may not always be able to completely prevent weight gain caused by the hormonal fluctuations of the menopause, spending less and less time on the go will only make things worse. A good exercise regime will help you stay in shape and prevent weight gain from getting out of control.
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