Navigationg Perimenopause How Fitness Can Support Your Journey 1

Perimenopause, that magical dance πŸ˜‰ leading up to menopause, can be a challenging time for many women. Hormonal fluctuations can run the gamut and include a wide range of physical and emotional changes.

While these changes are natural, they can impact women’s overall well-being and make it challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Incorporating fitness into your routine during perimenopause can have a multitude of benefits, helping you navigate this transformative period with grace and vitality. Let’s get into how fitness can support your journey through perimenopause.

Understanding Perimenopause:

Before parsing out the relationship between fitness and perimenopause, it’s important to understand the basics of this transitional phase. Perimenopause typically begins in a woman’s 40s but can start earlier for some individuals.  During this magical time, the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen, resulting in irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms. Perimenopause can last for several years before reaching the menopausal stage. 

The Impact of Fitness:

  • Hormone Regulation: Regular exercise can help regulate hormone levels during perimenopause. Physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins, which can alleviate mood swings, irritability, and depression that often accompany hormonal changes. Most critical is strength training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) which science has proven helps balance insulin levels, reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), and enhance the production of serotonin, improving overall mental well-being.
  • Managing Weight and Body Composition: During perimenopause, many women experience changes in body composition, with a tendency to gain weight, particularly around the waist. Regular exercise, including a combination of HIIT and strength training, can help manage weight, increase metabolism, and preserve and build lean muscle mass. Maintaining a healthy weight not only boosts self-confidence but also reduces the risk of various chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • Bone Health: During perimenopause, estrogen levels go down while the risk of decreased bone density (osteoporosis) goes up.  Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and especially, resistance training, can help maintain bone health and reduce the likelihood of fractures. Additionally, activities like yoga and Pilates can improve balance, flexibility, and posture, further supporting overall bone and joint health.
  • Cardiovascular Health: Heart disease becomes a significant concern for women during and after menopause. However, regular vigorous exercise can help maintain cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol profiles, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Enhancing Sleep Quality:   Sleep disturbance patterns are a common complaint during perimenopause, and can easily negatively affect overall well-being, contributing to fatigue and mood disturbances. Regular exercise can help improve sleep quality by promoting deeper and more restful sleep. However, it’s essential to avoid intense workouts close to bedtime, as they may have an energizing effect, making it harder to fall asleep. 

Pro tip:  My perimenopause journey enjoys waking me up at exactly 1:30 am most nights.  Try striking up a podcast (they are free on apple and Spotify) and you will be drifting back off in short order.  Either that or you will be enlightened by an awesome podcast as opposed to thinking about work!

Ladies and supportive partners who are lovingly reading this article, perimenopause is a transformative phase that brings about physical and emotional changes and it doesn’t have to be scary.  By incorporating fitness into your lifestyle, you can better manage some of the more difficult changes and support your overall well-being. Regular exercise can help regulate hormones, manage weight, maintain bone health, improve cardiovascular fitness, and enhance sleep quality.

As with anyone new to fitness, consult with your healthcare professionals, listen to your body, and choose activities that bring you joy. Remember, fitness is not only about physical health but also about nurturing your mental and emotional well-being during this transitional period. Embrace the power of fitness and embark on a journey of self-care, strength, and resilience as you navigate perimenopause with confidence.

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