The changes that occur during menopause increase the need to make regular exercise a lifestyle. Being physically active and doing exercise helps to keep bones strong and healthy throughout life. This is so important during menopausal period as the hormonal changes that takes place in the body impacts on bone health.
The hormone, oestrogen, plays an important role in the health of women. It protects the bones and helps to keep them strong and healthy. When it level drops, many women may lose bone density which increases the risk of developing osteoporosis.
That’s why keeping up with exercise as you age is important. It strengthens your muscles and keeps your bones strong – making them less likely to break.
Bones stay strong if you give them work to do. For exercise to be most effective, weight-bearing exercise with impact and muscle strengthening exercises should be included in a weekly exercise program.
Weight bearing exercise with impact involves being on your feet and adding an additional force or jolt through your skeleton. This could be anything from walking, dancing, stair climbing, running/jogging, team sports to star jumps. The key is starting at an intensity you can maintain for at least 20-30mins.
Muscle strengthening exercise involves moving against some resistance which add more loads for the muscles to work against. Dumbbells, activation/resistance bands, kettlebells can be used to achieve this.
When your muscles pull on your bones it gives your bones work to do. Your bones respond by renewing themselves and maintaining or improving their strength. As your muscles get stronger, they pull harder, meaning your bones are more likely to become stronger.
As your muscles get stronger and you find the movements easier, you can gradually increase the intensity of the resistance by increasing the weight of what you lift.
This video shows muscle strengthening exercise with the use of band and dumbbell to strengthen the shoulders, butts, hamstring, quads.
The general recommendation is 150minutes of moderate intensity weight bearing exercises per week and muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 –3 times per week.
Incorporating muscle strengthening exercises into your weekly program not only makes the symptoms of menopause bearable, it also impacts positively on the ageing process.