This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Physical activity and the

WHAT IS THE MENOPAUSE? As most women know, menopause is the cessation of periods marking the end of the childbearing period. It is considered to happen 12 months after the last menstrual period and usually occurs around the age of 52. The early stage, peri-menopause, starts five to 10 years earlier and symptoms can last for many years. For some it is a difficult time while for others is brings relief from menstrual irregularities and a sense of freedom.

SYMPTOMS AND EFFECTS OF MENOPAUSE There are a number of symptoms associated with menopause and these can range in severity over time. It is estimated that 75% of women will experience symptoms, the most common include; hot flushes, night sweats, disturbed sleep patterns, weight gain, vaginal discomfort, irregular or changed periods, mood swings and depression. For some women menopause triggers a range of emotions and while

many women feel a sense of relief at the end of periods and the physical and mental problems they cause, others experience more negative emotions ranging from sadness or a sense of loss at the end of the childbearing phase to a disturbed sense of self. These feelings can be transient and mild, or they may have a deeper effect, so it is important to seek professional help if you feel depressed or anxious during this time.

MENOPAUSE AND AND PHYSICAL INACTIVITY As well as the above symptoms, the combination of menopause and low levels of activity carries some significant health risks. These include a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and reduced physical function. The good news is that


While stamina-based activity is particularly important for health benefits, you also need to include some strength and flexibility- based activity to get the best health gains. Stamina-type activities: Walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, tennis and housework (washing floors or windows) Strength-type activities: Walking uphill, carrying shopping, climbing stairs, gardening (digging or mowing) and housework Flexibility-type activities: Dancing, yoga, Pilates, and T’ai Chi

Tips on increasing your activity level n Use activity or puzzles as a way of diverting your cravings. n Develop a pattern as it is the ‘regular’ rather than the activity that is important in the early stages.

n There is evidence that being active outside and particularly around green spaces like parks, makes you feel mentally better.

n Walking is an ideal activity as it’s free and easy to do anywhere. Perhaps take a dog for a walk to make it more interesting or use a pedometer to count your steps.

n Look for opportunities to be active during your whole day. For example park at the far end of the car park, or walk one stop further to catch the bus, and take 10 minutes out of your lunch break to go for a walk.

n Try using the stairs instead of the escalator. If you do use the escalator start by walking part of the way up and progress to walking up the whole way.

n Choose activities that you enjoy doing. Involve your friends and family to make your activities fun, sociable and enjoyable.


regular activity can lower these risks and may also help to alleviate their effects.

WHY EXERCISE? Exercise has many physical and mental benefits and can help you to improve your health and wellbeing. The table on the right shows just a few of the specific benefits for women approaching or past menopause and there are many more reasons to be active. Start as early as you can – in your teens or twenties if possible, if you are older then get going now!

GETTING STARTED Start slowly and choose something you like doing to help motivate you. Walking is one of the easiest activities to start with and being outside will help to improve your mental health. You may like the gym or exercise classes or prefer swimming, just remember that any activity is better than none so start with a little and increase it gradually.

n 5 x 30 minutes per week (150 minutes total)

n moderate intensity – brisk pace

n at least twice a week n walk up and down hills and stairs

n twice a week n resistance training (RT) – bodyweight, bands, machines

n daily – even a few minutes a day helps

n relaxation HOW MUCH AND HOW OFTEN?

Frequency Your main aim is to build up to 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity on 5 or more days of the week. If this seems too much to start with, try starting with 3 x 10 minute walks spread throughout the day and work towards 2 x 15 minute walks and then 30 continuous minutes. One goal is to try and increase your activity by 2 minutes each day. If weight loss is a goal then you need to aim for 250-300 minutes per week or 60 mins x 5 days per week.

Intensity Moderate intensity means breathing harder and getting warmer than normal. It does not need to be hard. You should be able to talk and be active at the same time.

Advice Whatever your chosen activity, it should be performed at a gentle intensity which gradually increases until after about 10 minutes you have reached the level you can maintain for your chosen period of activity. This gets the blood flowing to your muscles and allows your heart rate to increase gradually. When you are nearing the end of your activity you should also slowly decrease the level of activity over 5-10 minutes to allow your heart rate to slow down gradually.

The information contained in this article is intended as general guidance and information only and should not be relied upon as a basis for planning individual medical care or as a substitute for specialist medical advice in each individual case. To the extent permissible by law, the publisher, editors and contributors accept no liability for any loss, injury or damage howsoever incurred (including negligence) as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use by any person of the contents of this article.

Produced by

n get warmer, breathe faster, heart beat quicker

n any activity you like

n dancing, aerobics or circuit training n 8-12 repetitions of 8 or more exercises

n whole body approach n RT for the lower body – up to 3 sets of 8-12 reps

n controlled breathing exercises n outdoor activity






Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130