Exercise and Movement

Maintaining physical activity stands out as a vital practice for optimal well-being during the perimenopause, menopause, and beyond. However, for many individuals, integrating exercise and movement into their busy routines can prove to be a considerable challenge.

What are the advantages of physical activity?

The scientific consensus is clear – engaging in regular physical activity contributes to a healthier and happier life.

It mitigates the risk of various chronic conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers.

Regular physical activity also enhances self-esteem, mood, sleep quality, and energy levels. It aids in weight management and reduces the likelihood of depression and dementia, with particular relevance for women navigating the menopausal transition. Notably, exercise plays a pivotal role in preventing accelerated bone loss post-menopause.

What exercises should I be doing?

The key is to embrace any active pursuit that brings enjoyment, as adherence is crucial for reaping health rewards.

For those under 65 and in good health, NHS guidelines suggest 150 minutes of weekly physical activity through various means. This can be achieved with 20 minutes of daily exercise or three sessions of 50 minutes each week.

For bone health, aim for 50 moderate impacts through joints daily. Strengthening exercises, lasting 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times a week on non-consecutive days, are ideal.

Ultimately, a well-rounded approach is beneficial, encompassing different types of exercise, including:

This involves activities like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing, racquet sports, and stair climbing.

It promotes overall health, particularly benefiting the heart and brain.

These involve activities where you support your body weight, such as brisk walking, running, and certain sports. This is crucial for bone strength, especially when impact is involved.

These require muscles to work harder against resistance, which can include bodyweight exercises, weightlifting, or resistance bands. This type is particularly beneficial for bone health.

Yoga and Pilates are also popular for enhancing strength, balance, flexibility, and core strength, including pelvic floor muscles.

How do I get started?

If you’ve been inactive, start with small, manageable steps. Consider incorporating gentle walking and gradually increase intensity. Explore different activities, both solo and group-based, indoors and outdoors, to find what you genuinely enjoy.

Utilise supportive resources such as exercise apps, podcasts, or energising music to maintain motivation. If menopausal symptoms impede exercise, addressing these with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may enhance physical well-being and motivation.

Recognise the importance of avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or lying down, even if you meet weekly exercise recommendations.

Regular breaks and activities in a standing position are crucial to counteract the potential adverse effects of prolonged inactivity, as identified by health authorities.

Useful Resources

Below are some resources which you might find useful when on your exercise journey. 

NHS Couch to 5km

Millions of people have already started their running journey with the Couch to 5k plan. It’s an easy to follow programme known the world over, and perfect for those new to running and needing some extra support and motivation along the way. 

Squeezy

Squeezy is the multi-award winning app supporting people with their pelvic floor muscle exercise programmes. Designed by chartered physiotherapists specialising in women’s and men’s pelvic health and recommended by the NHS.

West Beach Challengers with Katie Grover

Find out how to get fit and change your approach to fitness and nutrition for life.