Lifestyle Changes to Help with Menopause

By on July 24, 2018
Lifestyle Changes to Help with Menopause

As you get older, you may find yourself with a little more free time on your hands. Your kids are setting out on their own, retirement is on the horizon, there’s more time for you to pursue hobbies and interests — but this time of life isn’t always enjoyable. Menopause is one of many health issues specific to women that you have to face as you age, and it is not known for being an easy transition.

You may experience a wealth of symptoms, including hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings, which can take a harsh toll on both physical and mental health. In extreme cases, hormone replacement therapy can alleviate symptoms, but more often than not, lifestyle adjustments can offer relief. After all, menopause signifies an important transition in your life and you shouldn’t have to suffer because of it. Here’s how simple lifestyle changes can help with menopause:

Exercise More

Exercise is vital for everyone’s health, and you can benefit greatly from incorporating it into your daily routine. While exercise will not make any symptoms disappear, it can greatly improve your quality of life, help stabilize your mood, and bring general comfort during menopause. A combination of different kinds of exercise will address your various health concerns and keep you healthy during the change of life.

Women in menopause are at a higher risk of weight gain and heart disease, but cardio or aerobic exercise will help you manage your weight and maintain heart health. Cardio exercises include running, dancing, and biking, but anything that elevates your heart rate counts. Start with short, less intense bouts of activity to adjust, as even walking for 10 minutes several times per day can make a huge difference.

Strength training is just as important as aerobic exercise, but is often overlooked. The National Osteoporosis Foundation warns that menopause causes estrogen levels to drop, which can lead to bone loss. Five to seven years after menopause, you can lose up to 20 percent of your bone density. Strength training exercises are one of the best ways to combat bone loss while maintaining muscle mass. While lifting weights is the most common form of strength training, using resistance bands or incorporating light dumbbells into aerobic exercises will also do the trick. Be sure to work all major muscles groups — legs, arms, and core — two or three times per week.

Dietary Changes

Diet can affect virtually all aspects of your health, making it one of the most important components for managing menopause and its symptoms. Though everyone’s dietary needs are unique, when it comes to menopause, there are a few foods to avoid and some to eat more often.

Generally, you should cut back on alcohol, sugar, salt, and high-fat foods. These foods can worsen certain symptoms, like depression and fatigue, and are not key parts of a healthy diet. If you experience frequent or severe hot flashes, avoid foods that can trigger them, such as caffeine, chocolate, and spicy food, especially right before bed.

Be sure to eat plenty of calcium, fiber, and iron. Fish, leafy greens, fresh fruit, legumes, nuts, and whole grains are all great options that will meet nutritional needs while helping to keep weight down. In addition, certain plant-based foods, such as tofu and soy milk, contain isoflavones, or plant estrogens, which function as a weaker version of estrogen in the human body. Though more research needs to be done, recent studies have indicated that isoflavones may be helpful in improving menopause symptoms, especially for hot flashes and mental health.

Stress Reduction

Though menopause is clearly difficult on the body, it can also take a toll on your mental health. Managing stress and taking care of mental and emotional health are vital to not just get through menopause, but to thrive during the transition.

From the hormone shifts themselves to the emotions surrounding them, menopause can be hard on mental health. Take time every day to do something you enjoy; as long as you have the chance to relax, it doesn’t matter what the activity is. On busy days, it’s the first thing to get cut from your schedule, but this is a necessity for staying healthy and happy during menopause. Slowing down, even for 15 or 20 minutes each day, and relaxing can make the change of life a much easier transition.

Menopause is a time of great change, but that change doesn’t have to be painful or unpleasant. View it as an opportunity to make lasting lifestyle changes that will not only help with menopause and its infamous symptoms, but also improve your health overall.

 

About Madison Baker

Madison Ann Baker is a writer, Netflix-binger, and pop culture enthusiast who lives in Idaho. Literature and linguistics are her two passions, both of which she studied in college. She enjoys writing about animals and health and wellness, but dabbles in a little bit of everything. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her Borador, Dash, and re-reading Harry Potter. Twitter: https://twitter.com/mabakerwrites Contently: https://mabakerwrites.contently.com/

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Lifestyle Changes to Help with Menopause