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We answer your most Googled questions on exercise during menopause

ladies walking in the park with yoga mat
Can't find motivation for workouts or have lost your stamina since the menopause? Well, that’s perfectly normal. Read on to find out what you can do to support your body and bones and maintain optimal health during menopause.

We answer your questions on exercise during menopause


Have you been finding it harder to work out since starting the menopause? If so, then you’re not alone. Exercising when menopausal is proven to be harder for several reasons. We’ve looked at some of your most Googled questions on this topic, to help you start feeling at your best again and back to enjoying what you love. 

What you're asking

We’ll be responding to your most Googled questions around menopause below, to help you or your loved ones understand a little bit more about this biological rebirth.

1

Is exercising harder during menopause?

Yes, exercise during the menopause can seem harder. 

Many menopausal women feel fatigued, and therefore exercise can often take a back seat. Weight gain, brain fog, and anxiety - all common symptoms during the menopause transition - can make it harder to find the motivation to workout.1

2

What type of exercise is best for menopause?

Doing cardiovascular exercise will help to improve your heart health after the menopause. Cardiovascular exercise can also increase your energy levels, boost your mood, and enhance your sleep quality.2

However, strength training is highly recommended too, as it is important for maintaining healthy, strong bones.  

3

Which exercises increase oestrogen levels?

High-intensity exercises like squats, lunges, pull-ups, crunches, and push-ups are ideal for increasing oestrogen levels, with minimal rest time in between. The more intense a workout, the more these hormones are released.3

4

Why does menopause cause osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease identified by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, with a consequent increase in bone fragility. Osteoporosis makes bones more susceptible to fractures.4

Postmenopausal women are susceptible to primary osteoporosis, this is because osteoporosis is closely related to oestrogen deficiency.

During the menopausal transition period, the drop of oestrogen leads to more bone resorption (the process by which the bones are absorbed and broken down by the body5 than formation, resulting in osteoporosis6

5

Can osteoporosis be reversed after menopause?

In short, unfortunately not!

Osteoporosis cannot be completely reversed and is not considered curable, however there are a few health and lifestyle adjustments you can make to improve bone loss.7

You could also look into making some practical adjustments to your everyday activities and surroundings, to prevent the chances of slips, trips and falls.8

Check out how to prevent osteoporosis through your diet, for more information on how to support your bones through your diet. 

6

How can I strengthen my bones during menopause?

Good nutrition, healthy vitamin D and calcium levels, along with maintaining and building muscle mass can all play a key part in strengthening your bones.

A balanced diet containing plenty of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, seeds and nuts, and lean protein will help supply your body with the key nutrients it needs to support optimal bone health.   

Efforts to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis include optimal intakes of calcium and vitamin D. The NHS recommends adults aged 19 - 64 and over need 700mg of calcium a day9, and children from the age of 1 year through to adults need 10μg of vitamin D a day.10 This should continue throughout life, with emphasis during times of increased bone loss such as the menopause transition.11 Vitamin D helps our bodies to absorb calcium and metabolise it.  

Exercise studies show that women in early post-menopause can not only maintain but gain an average of 1.5% in bone mineral density in as little as nine months with rigorous strength-training regimes.12

7

How can I increase my stamina during menopause?

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that menopausal woman should do up to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, or at least 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity.13

Strength training exercises are additionally advised and are recommended at least twice a week. 

Brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, or water aerobics could help too. If you're a beginner, start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase the intensity and duration.14

8

What are 5 lifestyle changes that can assist with the menopause?

The NHS suggest that eating well, exercising, and looking after your mental wellbeing can help with symptoms during perimenopause and menopause.

5 lifestyle changes you could make to help ease symptoms of menopause are:

• Get plenty of rest, including keeping to regular sleep routines 

• Eat a healthy diet 

• Have calcium-rich food like milk, yoghurt and kale to keep bones healthy 

• Exercise regularly, try including weight-bearing activities where your feet and legs support your weight like walking, running or dancing 

• Don't smoke and don't drink more than the recommended alcohol limit15

The final say


That concludes our answers to your most commonly Googled questions on the relationship between menopause and exercise. We hope we have cleared up some of your queries, and given you some tips on how you can get back into the swing of things and maybe even set some new personal bests when working out! 

Here at Holland & Barrett we’re offering every woman personalised support through a free 1-2-1 consultation with a menopause trained advisor, book in store or online. 

Research amongst GB women aged 40+ from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds revealed that more than one in ten (15%) say being able to speak to a GP/ health professional in their own language would make a positive difference. 

That’s why we’ve made sure that our online appointments are available with menopause trained advisors who natively speak Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati and Hindi. Book your consultation online and together, we can navigate your unique menopause journey. 

And… We’ve also answered your questions on perimenopause and other menopause related topics, check out below! 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 772 40+ Female BAME respondents out of which 650 respondents are in any menopausal period or are unsure. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th May - 7th June 2023.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted to be representative of GB BAME women aged 40+.

Sources

1. https://theinsidermd.com/menopause-and-exercise-intolerance/#:~:text=Many%20menopausal%20women%20feel%20fatigued,motivation%20to%20hit%20the%20gym

2. https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/menopause-exercise

3. https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/how-exercise-helps-balance-hormones#:~:text=Exercises%20that%20help%20boost%20hormone%20levels&text=High%2Dintensity%20exercises%20like%20squats,more%20these%20hormones%20are%20released

4. https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/osteoporosis-prevention-of-fragility-fractures/

5. https://www.mybiosource.com/learn/conditions/bone-resorption/#:~:text=Bone%20resorption%20is%20the%20process,calcium%20from%20an%20individual's%20diet

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5643776/#:~:text=Postmenopausal%20women%20are%20susceptible%20to,than%20formation%2C%20resulting%20in%20osteoporosis

7. https://physiciansallianceofconnecticut.com/blog/can-osteoporosis-be-reversed-learn-the-health-and-lifestyle-tips-to-curb-osteoporosis-symptoms/

8. https://theros.org.uk/information-and-support/osteoporosis/living-with-osteoporosis/everyday-life/

9. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/calcium/

10. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/

11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2621390/

12. https://www.womenshealthnetwork.com/bone-health/bones-menopause/

13. https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf

14. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/fitness-tips-for-menopause/art-20044602#:~:text=Try%20brisk%20walking%2C%20jogging%2C%20biking,and%20burn%20calories%20more%20efficiently

15. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/things-you-can-do/

 

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