If you or someone you know is going through menopause, then today’s article is for you. Keep reading as guest blogger, Tony Miller, discusses menopause and suggests several heart-healthy ways to improve menopausal symptoms.
For many women, menopause is a dreaded period marked by incessant health problems. Even before they reach 50, the average age of menopause, women experience hormone imbalance. As a natural process, their estrogen level drops leading to permanent infertility. This physical change causes problems in their reproductive system such as irregular periods and vaginal dryness.
Aside from irregularities in their reproductive system, they also suffer from hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, as well as mood swings and weight gain brought by slowed metabolism. This decline in metabolism rate is one of the most critical health problems.
According to a paper by National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers of Disease Control Prevention (NCHS-CDC), the prevalence of obesity among middle-aged women aged 40–59 is 39.5% and 38.1% in 60-and-over age bracket in 2011–2012. Hence, middle-aged women and older are more prone to be overweight than in another period in their lives.
Menopause and heart disease
Aside from their tendency to go overweight, a new study by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health revealed that late- and post-menopausal women are at greater risk of accumulation of more fat around the heart.
The lead author of the study, Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H., emphasized the gravity of his findings. He said, “Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, and it increases after age 50 — the average age when a woman is going through menopause.”
The research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and American Heart Association (AHA) prescribed women nearing midlife to take preventive measures for the build-up of fat surrounding their hearts.
“Developing prevention strategies to reduce cardiovascular fat in women at midlife may reduce their heart disease risk, especially knowing that the menopausal transition puts women at risk for excess fat around their hearts,” Dr. El Khoudary added.
Feel good during menopause
If you’re about to reach or are already in menopause, you could at the worse, or, for some, best decade of your life. While others yield to the mood swings brought about by menopause to become depressed and grumpy, other women consider 50 as “most sex-confident decade" of their life. Are you fit to enjoy life during menopause?
A key difference of those who view menopause as a gift and those who think of it as a curse is the amount of time they exercise. The blues that you may experience during menopause could be blamed for lack of physical activity as you approach the menopausal phase. While regular exercise can shape up your body, it can also lighten up your mood. In fact most psychologists believe exercise is “nature’s mood enhancer," even more powerful than mood enhancing drugs.
With the new study linking menopause to the accumulation of fat around the heart and the risk of frequent mood swings, medical experts further stress the need for women to get fit. Aside from minimizing the risk of heart problems and mood swings, living fit and healthy during menopause also cuts down your risk of breast cancer, strengthens your bones, and reduces your likelihood of getting other diseases. Now, are you ready to burn some body fat?
But boredom sets in
But how many times do we hear women complaining of boredom that they experience when they hit the gym? Even though exercise is addictive, the happiness associated with it lasts only at the start of a fitness regimen. This event may explain the thrill new gym members feel, and the reason majority of them stop going on after a few months.
The five activities
How to keep your enthusiasm for exercise burning? Scientists found out daily workouts of short duration—ideally, at least 20 minutes—will do the trick. A daily dose of the activities below could help you achieve the best fit:
- Do your morning walk or jog – Walking is perhaps one of the most frequently done activities, especially in the bygone years. Reduce your fat by walking at a distance. To make your walk more entertaining and engaging, try to walk with your friend or your pets.
- Hit the water – Swimming is a great exercise for those with advanced age. Aside from being a low-impact exercise that is easy on your joints, it is a good aerobic workout to burn fats.
- Tour by pedals – Besides walking, riding a bike is a healthy way to travel and environment-friendly too. A woman weighing 135 pounds and pedaling 12 to 14 miles an hour can burn 488 calories in only 60 minutes.
- Cultivate your garden – Here’s a recreation excellent to your health. Gardening may be a simple chore, but according to a study, it gives the same health benefits as exercise. Researchers in Stockholm found out that gardening can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke, and add years to as much as 30% among the 60-plus age group.
- Dance to the tune – Dancing is a popular socialization activity for menopausal women. As a form of self-expression, dancing is like no other. From ballroom dancing to now popular Zumba beats, dancing brings pleasure and calorie burning at the same time.
Doing them on a daily basis even for a short time could not only improve your heart and tone your muscles, but they can also bring joy into your lives. Add to these mindfulness exercises, as well as diet regimens such as juice fasting, Mediterranean diet, and Paleo diet, and your menopause years could indeed be blessing in disguise in terms of your health.
About the Author
Tony Miller is a fitness and wellness enthusiast who writes for Genemedics Health Institute. He is also a guest writer and contributor in different health blogs and websites.
Do you have any fun, heart-healthy and mood enhancing activities to add to this list?