How Exercise Can Positively Affect Menopausal Symptoms

Posted by Anna Johnson on January 10th, 2023

Menopause affects millions of women in America each year. While it is technically the point in time that marks 12 months since a woman's last menstrual cycle, it is a time in a woman's life that is measured in months and then years, in which each phase brings symptoms that can be pretty unpleasant. Many women seek relief from menopausal symptoms and exercise can provide such relief. 

There are three phases of the menopausal process: perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. Perimenopause is the period that leads up to the moment of menopause and postmenopause is the period after the woman has not menstruated for longer than twelve months. 

What Does Estrogen Have To Do With Menopause?

Estrogen is a hormone that is responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system. It promotes the development and maintenance of the female body. Menopause occurs because over time, women's bodies slow the production of estrogen before ultimately stopping production altogether. When this estrogen production slows, women's bodies undergo an intense transformation that affects many different aspects of their experience.

When estrogen is used as hormone therapy, it can ease menopausal symptoms, such as vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse. Systemic estrogen helps protect against the bone-thinning disease known as osteoporosis.

What Are Typical Menopausal Symptoms?

While some signs of estrogen dominance differ from menopausal symptoms, some are similar.  Irregular periods will happen in the years and months leading up to menopause. Hot flashes and night sweats are common symptoms among menopausal women. These are related to decreased estrogen levels having a negative effect on your body's hypothalamus, which is its thermostat. 

Mood changes and sleep problems go hand in hand and show that all symptoms are not only physical in nature. The changes in hormones that happens during menopause certainly impact mental health, potentially causing anxiety, stress and depression. 

Why Is Exercise Beneficial for Menopausal Women?

Exercise is beneficial to women with menopause in the same way that it is for everybody else. It helps maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress and improve a person's quality of life. In one study, menopausal women who exercised for a year experienced an improvement in their mental and physical health. Their exercise regimen consisted of cardiovascular, stretching, muscle strengthening and relaxation techniques. 

Exercise has been proven to help with moderate depression, which is a symptom of menopause. Aerobic exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which suppress cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is active during the menopause transition and so exercise helps to relieve stress. When a body experiences a moderate aerobic workout during the day, it is more apt to achieve deep sleep at night. 

What Are the Best Exercises To Do for Relief From Menopausal Symptoms?

Simply walking or hiking is a powerful exercise. It's one of the easiest steps you can take to manage menopause symptoms and feel better. Cardio activity that is moderate to vigorous, like jogging or cycling, can mitigate symptoms, too. 

One study found that regular stretching can have a stabilizing effect on symptoms such as hot flashes and poor sleep quality. As one of the effects of menopause is a loss of muscle strength and flexibility, spending a little time each day stretching is effectively offering resistance against those inevitable losses.

Yoga is another form of stretching that can help you keep the gains that you make with flexibility from simply stretching and doing cardio. Yoga also has the benefit of reducing the emotional symptoms of menopause. Many women claim that restorative and supportive poses can ameliorate the undesirable side effects of menopause.

Menopause will probably never be described in glowing terms but the relief that exercise can provide comfort. It can work especially well when used in tandem with other techniques, like investing in proper sleep and a balanced diet. For a period in a life that can last for longer than ten years, finding ways to achieve relief is tantamount to retaining a happy quality of life.

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Anna Johnson

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Anna Johnson
Joined: June 14th, 2017
Articles Posted: 53

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