Why is exercise important for menopausal women?
Women go through so many hormonal changes in their life and staying positive and living a healthy, active lifestyle can help them cope better with the changes, both physically and mentally.
What specific issues will exercise address?
A healthy, active lifestyle as you age can help counter ageing effects such as muscle loss, decreased bone density and decreased joint mobility. Bone loss during menopause is always a concern, so following a balanced plan which includes moderate impact exercises can help. As hormones change, many women also find that they gain weight. Being active, combined with healthy nutrition can help with weight loss and weight maintenance. Many people believe that as we age, our need for activity diminishes but, the older we become, the more focused we must be on staying active so that we can have good overall health.
What are the other benefits?
The benefits of being active go far beyond the physical. Exercising releases endorphins that make you feel good; sweating and improved circulation give your skin a youthful post exercise glow and although we can’t stop the ageing process, building lean muscle mass and promoting bone density can help counteract nature’s plan. Exercise is wonderful for all stages of life but especially during a period when women need a confidence boost and some stress relief.
Can exercise reduce menopausal symptoms?
I believe that exercise can reduce stress and feelings of anxiety as well as combat the feeling of being tired which often accompanies menopause. Exercise can help you to feel energised, positive and in control.
How often should they exercise?
How much exercise you need depends on your overall goal. For weight-loss and general health, 150 minutes (or about 30 minutes, five times a week) of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week may be enough. Although a workout time of 30 minutes is adequate, I believe it’s best to schedule for a slightly longer duration of approximately 50-60 minutes each day. Allocating an extra 20-30 minutes will allow adequate time for a warm up and cool down as well as time to write in an exercise journal or prepare a healthy post exercise snack. Exercise produces the best results when you are consistent in your routine. It should be part of an overall wellness strategy to improve your life. Thus, your activity plans should not be something that stresses you out. It’s counter-productive if you have to rush off right after your exercise routine because it somehow spoils the stress relieving effects.
Why is strength training important for menopausal women?
As part of the ageing process and the hormonal changes that take place, women naturally lose muscle mass which can negatively affect their metabolism, how they feel and how they look. Whether you are trying to lose or gain weight or maintain your current body composition, strength training can help you to achieve your body-focused goals while improving the way you feel. The benefits of strength training include weight loss, increased lean body mass and improved strength as the training adaptations that happen in the body as a result of strength training can greatly enhance the activities of daily living, such as lifting, standing, walking and enjoying simple activities. If you love to play sports, strength training can also help you to improve your overall performance. Training for strength does not have to mean lifting weights. You can do body weight exercises, use resistance bands or objects around the house, such as water bottles.
Should yoga and meditation be included in the fitness routine?Meditation is an ancient practice associated with health benefits; exercising your mind is just as important as exercising your body. Meditation is a great way to regain your focus, calm your mind and, at the same time, avoid the pitfalls that come with reaching for the cookie jar when stressed. Complementing meditation with yoga may help you develop mental strength, flexibility and physical strength. Whatever your needs or fitness goals, there are styles of yoga that will suit you.
What about dietary changes?
Our daily nutrition choices are important, not only for controlling our weight but for being and feeling our best. Nutrient-dense foods packed with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, can enhance our overall sense of wellbeing. Calcium is important for bone health, protein essential for healthy muscles, and consuming healthy fats is also important. During times of major changes within the body, it’s best to make small daily changes instead of one big jump. It’s about being a little more mindful of what we are putting into our body each day. Hydration is also crucial because of all the sweating that menopausal women experience, so one must replenish lost fluids.
Train Smart. Eat Well. Feel Great !
Why is Exercise Important for Menopausal Women? June 29, 2016
Why is exercise important for menopausal women?
Top Tips to Avoid Menopausal Heart Disease June 20, 2016
Top Tips to Avoid Menopausal Heart DiseaseHeart disease is the leading cause of death among women so taking care of it through diet, exercise and bioidentical natural progesterone will all help your heart stay healthy.
June 14, 2016
Once she reaches the age of 65 a woman’s rate of heart disease has caught up with that of men so it makes sense to be proactive and minimise your risk factors for a long and healthy life.
The biggest risk factors are smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, being overweight and having an unhealthy diet. They are also risk factors for a number of other serious health conditions including diabetes so reducing them will improve your health profile immediately.
It is a common misconception that women suffer exactly the same type of heart disease as men, but yet again there is a real difference between the sexes. Women post-menopause can have narrowing of the arteries and a build-up of deposits just like men do, but it is much more common for the cause of the heart attack to be spasm of the coronary arteries. Research suggests that the oestrogen component of HRT may aggravate coronary artery spasm, where bioidentical natural progesterone will relieve it.
What to do to minimize your risk:
You already know to eat a varied, healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables but there is now a new player in the mix. Interesting new research from Malmo in Sweden found that women whose diets were high in fibre had almost 25 percent lower risk of heart disease than women whose diets were low in it. The best fibre source is fruit and vegetables, rather than bread, so you are getting multiple health benefits as well as heart protecton.
A real health boost will be yours if you also follow an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants – including vitamins A and C – plus the minerals potassium and magnesium.
Good news if you love chocolate – and who doesn’t – because cocoa has been validated as having these cardiovascular benefits:
• Inhibits the oxidation of LDL
• Improves endothelial function
• Inhibits platelet activation
• Reduces LDL
• Increases HDL
• Increases insulin sensitivity
• Reduces inflammatory proteins
• Lowers blood pressure
Of course these are not just found in chocolate – you will get the same benefits in tea, fruit, vegetables and red wine so you can balance out your chocolate intake! The chocolate health winner though is raw chocolate and you can add it to smoothies, drinks and shakes. If you want to chew on a bar then go for dark (plain) chocolate with a high cocoa content of at least 75%.
Regular, enjoyable, exercise is also key and if it is weight bearing it will help with osteoporosis too.
Stress affects every single part of your body and if you are regularly stressed, and on a long-term basis, then this is a serious risk factor and needs to be addressed. Find ways to reduce the pressure whether that is taking a walk, talking to a friend or taking up a hobby. Singing, dancing, meditation are all good ways to relax – just find what suits you and stick to it.
Tackling your diet, exercise regime and stress levels will make a huge difference to your risk of heart disease. There is also another two other things you can do to protect your heart.
It has been known for many years that progesterone is effective in relaxing coronary arteries which have gone into spasm, and that excess oestrogen can in fact cause spasm. As we have seen, most menopausal women’s heart attacks are due to heart spasm so this is a simple and effective preventive measure to avoid a potentially fatal heart attack.
Oestrogen dominance is also linked to heart disease so tackling that as well will give you a good healthy way to take care of you heart.
Hormone Injection Promotes Fitness in Older Adults June 14, 2016
Osteocalcin increases muscle performance, but naturally declines as we age – but injections can reverse the age-related exercise capacity declinein mice.
Levels of the hormone osteocalcin naturally decline as we age
A hormone jab could get the elderly exercising like they were years younger, a new study found.
During exercise the bones produce a hormone called osteocalcin that increases muscle performance.
But levels of the hormone naturally decline as we age, beginning from the age of 30 in women and 50 in men.
A study by Columbia University Medical Centre identified the first bone-derived hormone known to affect exercise capacity.
It also showed osteocalcin injections can reverse the age-related exercise capacity decline in mice and the findings apply to humans.
Geneticist Professor Dr Gerard Karsenty said: “Our bones are making a hormone called osteocalcin that provides an explanation for why we can exercise.
Osteocalcin injections ‘can reverse the age-related exercise capacity decline’
“The hormone is powerful enough to reconstitute, in older animals, the muscle function of young animals.
“Muscles and bones are close to each other, but it had never been shown before that bone actually influences muscle in any way.”
The senior author noted during exercise in mice and humans, the levels of osteocalcin in the blood increase depending on how old the organism is.
He observed that in three-month-old adult mice, osteocalcin levels spiked approximately four times the amount that the levels in 12-month-old mice did when the rodents ran for 40 minutes on a treadmill.
The three-month-old mice could run for about 1,200 meters before becoming exhausted, while the 12-month-old mice could only run half of that distance.
To investigate whether osteocalcin levels were affecting exercise performance, Prof Karsenty tested mice genetically engineered so the hormone couldn’t signal properly in their muscles.
Without osteocalcin muscle signalling, the mice ran 20 to 30 per cent less time and distance than their healthy counterparts before reaching exhaustion.
Surprisingly, says Karsenty, when healthy mice that were 12 and 15 months old, and whose osteocalcin levels had naturally decreased with age, were injected with osteocalcin, their running performance matched that of the healthy three-month-old mice.
Read more: Secret to ‘eternal youth’ found in GINGER gene that makes you look two years younger
The older mice were able to run about 1,200 meters before becoming exhausted.
Prof Karsenty said: “It was extremely surprising that a single injection of osteocalcin in a 12-month-old mouse could completely restore its muscle function to that of a three-month-old mouse.”
Normal “resting” levels of osteocalcin in the blood also declined with age in rhesus monkeys and humans, with the decline occurring about 15 to 20 years sooner in women than in men.
It has never been shown that bone actually influences muscle “in any way”
He added: “If you look backwards during evolution, men were much more active than women – for example, in hunting and fishing.
“That may be an explanation for why the decrease in circulating osteocalcin occurs later in men than in women.
The study also measured levels of glycogen, glucose, and acylcarnitines – an indicator of fatty-acid use – in mice with and without osteocalcin to determine the cellular mechanisms behind osteocalcin’s effects.
It found the hormone helps muscle fibres uptake and catabolize glucose and fatty acids as nutrients during exercise.
Prof Karsenty added: “It’s never been shown before that bone actually influences muscle in any way
“Osteocalcin is not the only hormone responsible for adaptation to exercise in mice and humans, but it is the only known bone-derived hormone that increases exercise capacity.
“This may be one way to treat age-related decline in muscle function in humans.”
The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Female Hormone Basics – What, When, Why….. March 11, 2016
Read the entire article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/society-for-womens-health-research/hormones-from-puberty-to-post-menopause_b_9409894.html
Menopause Monday November 17, 2014
6 Tips For Weight Loss At Menopause
Menopause and weight gain seem to go together for the majority of women, even those who have always been slim. Your hormones are one factor, but here are some useful tips to help lose those pounds.
October 24, 2014
Most women notice that along with menopause comes some unwanted weight, particularly on the stomach, hips and thighs. Unfortunately this is Nature’s way of making sure that your declining oestrogen levels are getting topped up by switching production to the fat cells.
No matter how much you exercise, or how healthily you eat, it is very hard to avoid putting on those extra pounds but there are some simple ways to manage your weight at menopause.
1. Get oestrogen dominance under control as oestrogen is produced in the fat cells you want to make sure that it is not being produced in excess. Rebalancing with bioidentical natural progesterone will help keep it under control, and as progesterone is also a diuretic that can help with that bloated stomach too.
2. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep because you burn calories when you sleep, so the less of it you get the more calories get stored in your body. Also, when tired we tend to go for a ‘quick fix’ of something comforting which is usually carbohydrate, fat and sugar none of which help lose us weight. These foods are high in calories but they affect your bloods sugar levels and then can leave you feeling tired, irritable, anxious and reaching for the next fix.
Control Your Blood Sugar
3. Some will find eating little and often as your body can cope better with several small meals throughout the day, not a couple of large ones. This is the best way of keeping your blood sugar levels stable and studies show that people who eat 4-5 meals or snacks a day are better able to control their appetite and weight. Stick to a Mediterranean style diet for healthy weight loss with fresh wholefoods, vegetables, fruit, salads, nuts, and seeds.
4. Drink plenty of water as often, though you think you are hungry, you might actually just be thirsty because the majority of us simply do not drink enough water. Your body needs fluid to perform many of its functions, but strangely enough if you drink too little you can actually end up with fluid retention as your body is holding on to whatever it can get to work efficiently. Your body does not need fluids that actually make it work harder, such as fizzy sugar laden drinks and alcohol, so stick to plain water wherever you can.
5. Reduce your alcohol intake as it can be a major obstacle when trying to lose weight. Although there are certain drinks, such as red wine, that have been some health benefits generally it is a good idea to really cut down. The problem is that alcohol upsets blood sugar levels, depletes nutrients, causes liver problems, aggravates the gut, lowers immunity and, if you’re trying to lose weight, it is not good news as it increases hunger and cravings for junk foods. We also know that your liver cannot metabolise fat while it deals with toxins like alcohol.
Get Your HEC in check ( Hinger. Energy. Cravings)
6. Understanding why you eat is crucial, as menopause certainly can be an absolute rollercoaster in terms of your emotions. If it is emotion, rather than physical hunger, that triggers your eating then it will really help you to tackle this in order to lose weight. The simplest method is to keep a food diary; noting down what you eat and why you are are eating it, for instance are you angry, sad, upset? You may find it simpler to talk this through with someone like a counsellor or a therapist who specialises in this area.
Eat Clean Train Smart. Feel Great
Menopause Monday #4 Weight Gain – Unstoppable? August 25, 2014
Piling on the pounds can easily happen during menopause
Many women find it hard to control their weight during menopause but most put this down to poor diet or lack of exercise.
In fact, the hormonal changes that menopause brings are an important factor in weight gain and can make losing weight more difficult.
As we start the change, production of our body’s two major hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, starts to fall. This in itself is entirely natural.
However in Western societies, a combination of factors including extended use of birth control, processed foods and environmental toxins, cause progesterone levels to drop much faster than in societies where these factors are not present. The result is a condition called oestrogen dominance.
Oestrogen dominance is an imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone levels whereby, instead of the two hormones being relatively equal to each other, the ratio of oestrogen is elevated.
“My anxiety has gone, all my womanly feelings have returned, I lost 7 pounds in weight in 10 days (no dieting) – no more bloating…”
Jane – age 49 Surrey, UK
This can occur even with low oestrogen levels, and the symptoms are easily recognised: hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings etc.
Less well known is that oestrogen, when unchecked by progesterone, interferes with thyroid function, reducing its effectiveness.
This stimulates an increase in the production of insulin, leading to increased conversion of carbohydrate into fat, as well as sugar cravings. The result is that the weight piles on much easier and slimming down is much harder.
“There are no doubt good evolutionary reasons for some of oestrogen’s seemingly negative actions on the body such as water retention and weight gain. If we think of oestrogen in terms of procreation and survival of the fetus, it would seem advantageous to the baby for the expectant mother, in times of famine, to store body fat.”
Dr John Lee MD – What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About The Menopause
Supplementing with natural progesterone products, such as Wellsprings Serenity and 20-1 cream, helps restore hormonal balance and in doing so can make weight control throughout menopause much easier to manage.
Food or rather Cream for thought.
Eat Clean. Stay Active. Feel Great
Beat Ageing with Food #9 June 11, 2013
9. Chomp on chicken to stay young
Chicken, again? Don’t feel bad about serving this standby — when you put it on the table, you’re holding up a stop sign to the aging process. Spice it up with metabolic seasonings and marinades.
You can make this simple meat taste very different every day of the week.
If you haven’t already discovered foil pocket or pouch baking, you should give it a go.
Make a foil pouch for your piece or pieces of chicken, add your chosen herbs and spices. Seal loosely- bake in the oven till cooked, juicy and tender. I batch cook 3 days worth at a time, store in the fridge till I need it. No more ‘ i don’t have time’ excuses.
Poultry is high in zinc and selenium, two minerals that balance hormones and promote collagen production.
It also defends against free radical damage, which harms cells and accelerates aging.
The result: you’re the spring chicken!
You Need Saturated Fat – Yes YOU! January 15, 2013
Transfatty What?… do fat make you fat?
Trans fatty acids have been in the news quite a bit recently, especially now that food manufacturers have to disclose their presence on package labels, but we have to backtrack a bit to see why.
When vegetable oil processors thought it would be cool to make their products stay solid at room temperature, like butter and lard, they came up with a process called hydrogenation which yielded margarine and shortening. Crisco (USA) Stork (UK) by the way, of which I must have eaten a ton in baked goods when I was a kid, is hydrogenated cottonseed or soybean oil.
Nobel Prize winner Paul Sabatier (1854-1941, at right) is considered the father of the hydrogenation process. He discovered in 1897 that the metal, nickel, catalyzes, or facilitates, the attachment of hydrogen to carbon compounds.
In the actual process, workers heat the oil to very high temperatures and bubble hydrogen gas through it in the presence of nickel or some other catalytic metal. Since the vegetable oils are unsaturated, they can take on a few more hydrogens.
When they do, the molecule stiffens, and the fat is now closer to a solid. They can control just how firm it gets by how long they pump the gas through. That’s why you’ll sometimes see the term ‘partially hydrogenated’ on ingredient labels.
What also happens during hydrogenation, or later, during high heat cooking with the processed oils, is the formation of molecules so strangely configured that they’re completely unsuitable for use in our bodies.
As an added bonus, the double bonds in these foreign fatty acids are easily broken, allowing the formation of free radicals- highly reactive molecules with an unpaired electron, just looking for something to grab on to.
Promotion of breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, weakened immune systems and hormonal dysfunction are just some of the maladies for which studies have implicated these unnatural trans fats.
The point I’m trying to make in presenting all this information is that, yes, there are bad fats, but there are good fats, as well. Consider that the traditional fats eaten by our ancestors, and cultures around the world, were more often saturated than not, but that cardiovascular disease was almost unknown before the introduction of hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Our bodies badly need saturated fats- they make up half or more of our cell walls, they bolster our immune systems, nourish our heart muscle, carry important fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants, and, in the case of butter, contain anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-cancer agents.