Estrogen is the hormone keeping the body curvy and the metabolism buzzing; when it begins to break, you may start to gain weight (the average menopausal woman gains half a stone during the onset).
During the menopause, women need to pay closer attention to their diets, portion sizes and their workout routine. By tweaking small changes to your regular lifestyle, you can avoid making mistakes that can lead to weight gain and weakened muscles.
Below are the common mistakes made by women going through the menopause, and what you can do to fix them:
You take it easy
Executive director of the North American Menopause Society, Wulf Utian, explains how he doesn’t see why women of 50 or 60 shouldn’t be following a gym routine of that of a 40 year old. Don’t slow down or knock yourself, you are able to do the same amount as you have always done.
You only do cardio
While spin class and aerobics kept you fit and svelte before, once the hot flushes make an appearance, you may need to introduce some strength training. In order to maintain your calorie burn and preserve muscle, you need to work them.
However, don’t jump straight into it. Utian suggests gradually increasing muscle strength by starting with a light weight or resistance band.
You prefer swimming
As mentioned above, to keep your skeleton strong, you need weight-bearing exercise such as walking or weight lifting. It is thought that taking regular brisk walks can result in a lower risk of hip fractures and increasing the strength in your legs can help maintain independence and activity.
You’re not changing your diet
You may eat well, but pay attention to your sense of fullness. Thanks to your now unbalanced metabolism; you do not need as many calories as before. According to the Mayo Clinic, during the menopause women should be eating 200 calories less than what they are used to. Make sure the calories you are consuming are good quality; opt for lean sources of protein such as fish, chicken and turkey.
You try to do it alone
Check with your GP before making any drastic changes to exercise intensity and eating habits. For guidance on strength training, consider consulting a physical therapist or personal trainer. If you want advice on changing your dietary habits, consider working with a qualified nutritionist.
More importantly, do not struggle on your own. Recruit your friends and family to join in and support you on your journey.