Menopause can bring about many unpleasant changes that happen, seemingly overnight. One of the biggest complaints I hear from women, is the shifting of weight from the hips and thighs to the abdomen. Couple this with the fact that the average women gains 1 to 2 pounds each year after hitting menopause and you have the perfect formula for frustration.
Any fitness trainer will tell you, it is impossible to spot reduce fat, but you can perform exercises to target certain muscle groups, giving you a leaner appearance and aiding the shedding of fat overall. As with any weight management plan, exercise alone will not drive results – your diet has to be balanced as well – to achieve optimal results.
If you are new to exercise, the best place to start is with simple activities like daily walks or changing your route around the office to include the stairs rather than the elevator. Cardiovascular activity supports fat loss, and the more time you spend in motion each day, the slimmer your waistline will become. Once your body fat percentage begins to decrease progressively as a result of the cardiovascular exercise routines, you should begin to include abdominal routines in your workout session
Many women undergoing menopause will benefit from deep abdominal breathing exercises that promote relaxation, energy and help control stress. You can perform theses routines easily on a daily basis. Lie flat on your back with your knees up. Keep your feet slightly apart. Inhale deeply through the nose and allow your stomach to relax. Your stomach should balloon out as you breathe in. Capture a picture in your mind of your body filling with energy with each inhalation. As you exhale, imagine the air being pushed out from the bottom of your lungs to the top.
Pelvic lifts are another simple abdominal exercise that women can perform in the comfort of their own home. Lay on the floor, flat on your back with your knees bent. Push your back into the floor as you lift your butt off the floor. Hold for a minimum of five seconds before lowering to the floor. I recommend starting with two sets of ten reps and increase the amount of time you hold the pose and the number of reps as you become stronger.
In 2001, the American Council on Exercise completed a study rating vertical leg crunches among the most effective abdominal exercises. This exercise works the oblique and rectus abdominus muscles. Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head. Lift your legs in the air and cross at the ankles. Bend your knees. Lift your shoulders off the ground to push your abs towards your knees. Release and repeat for two to three sets of 10 reps.
Participating in Pilates, Yoga or Zumba classes will also help you learn more exercises and advance your results. Exercise, in general, is the most beneficial activity for women in their menopausal years. Exercise relieves symptoms of menopause naturally, and when coupled with efforts like bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, you can sail through menopause with little frustration and enjoy a higher quality of life and total wellness.
This post was written by By Dr. Areej Salem, BodyLogicMD of Orlando. BodyLogicMD offers hormone replacement therapy to patients all across the country using bioidentical hormones, as well as fitness and nutrition consultation.