Exercise During Menopause: Do’s and Don’ts (Natural Anti-aging Technique by Kristen). ®Juveriente

As a woman’s body transitions through menopause, learning how the body energizes in this new cycle is important. Rather than comparing the body–changes in weight, changes in skin, changes in emotion–to how it was, this is a season for reflection, for embracing what the body is becoming. While more and more women are learning how to sync their exercise to their menstrual cycle, exercising more in their follicular and ovulatory phases and resting more during the luteal and menstruation phases, women going through menopause and perimenopause are invited to learn and listen to what their body needs regarding exercise. Do you have energy for group classes? New classes like dancing or cycling or Zumba? Or is your body craving individual activity, like running or walking, or gentler movements like stretching and yoga? A balance of cardio and strength training with flexibility work is a powerful program, and it’s important not to fall victim to some of the biggest exercise mistakes during menopause.

Strength Training Vs. Cardio

As some women experience weight gain during menopause, an increase to cardio and strength training exercises is a great way to burn extra calories while still enjoying movement and increasing muscle. Many women make the mistake of just doing cardio, hoping to avoid weight gain, but that’s missing the vital component of increasing muscle mass. Strength training in short intervals, 30 minutes of squats, lunges, and weightlifting, is a great place to start. Focusing on the large leg muscles is also recommended by researchers who study menopause. If weight lifting is new to you, starting with light weights is recommended. There are also many classes at gyms that are introductions to strength training, as well as libraries of videos online.

menopause exercise benefits

menopause exercise benefits

Walking Vs. Swimming

Similarly, many women who prefer cardio exercises like swimming and cycling miss the importance of putting weight on the muscles, doing exercises like walking and running. The more weight the skeleton can bear, the less likely studies say it is for menopausal women to develop osteoporosis. One study of 60,000 postmenopausal women showed that when they walked at a fast pace 4+ times a week, they had a lower risk of hip fractures compared to those who did not walk as fast or as much during the week. While exercises like swimming and cycling are also important, aim for a balance of aerobic activity that impacts the skeletal system as well as improves muscle mass.

Preparing the Body: Warming Up and Stretching

When beginning a new exercise regimen, or continuing the regimen that’s been in place for decades or years, it is recommended that women going through menopause spend more targeted time warming up and stretching after a workout. Research done by the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City found that older bodies need a longer warm-up to prepare and loosen muscles and joints. 10 minutes of quick activity can suffice. Jogging in place, active stretching, exaggerated knee lifts, and arm swinging can all help get the blood flowing. Similarly, it’s important to stretch after exercise to properly transition the body to a more stagnant state. One of the ways to do this is through yoga and balancing activities.

Yoga and Balance

Accompanying the physical changes of menopause, there can be moments of tension with the changes that occur. Yoga and meditation are possible modes of calming the mind through those transition times. Not only can these practices which focus on daily presence, deeper breathing, and targeted strengthening help the mind, but a study by the Journal of Sexual Function showed that they can help increase sexual function for women over the age of 45. Incorporating stretching along with a yoga practice is important to keep joints loose and flexible, and stretching can be woven into any exercise regime. Stretches also help the body improve its balance which, studies have shown, can decrease as women enter menopause.

menopause exercise routines

menopause exercise routines

Getting Started with Weekly Exercise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that women under 65 should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises, like walking, cycling, or swimming. On top of that, doing 30 minutes of strength training twice a week, as long as there’s a day of rest between these sessions, is also encouraged. Yoga can be added according to what each individual feels they need, but balance stretches, warm ups, and stretching after exercise should be practiced frequently. These recommendations don’t have to be followed exactly, but they are a great place to begin when thinking about what a body needs as it transitions through menopause.

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Reducing Inflammation Naturally (Natural Anti-aging Technique by Kristen Sawyer). ®Juveriente’s Blog

Creators, teachers, and health enthusiasts often say that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel; most things have already been tested, proved, and experienced. When it comes to combating inflammation, a difficult effect of aging and a product of older injuries, gastrointestinal challenges, and other bodily shifts, it is important to stick to the secrets of centuries past.

Turmeric as Anti-Inflammatory

India produces over 95% of the world’s turmeric, and Indians have used turmeric for millennia. The active compound of turmeric, curcumin, holds most of the healing and anti-inflammatory power. Through ayurvedic medicine, the oldest known system of medicine, turmeric has factored into various healing remedies. When a child falls, the mother will often give her a cup of warm milk with turmeric. Daily doses of turmeric, the yellow-gold spice that can be bought in most grocery and health stores in the U.S. now, have been noted for their ability to minimize inflammation. Curcumin, the active compound, has been studied for reducing effects of osteoarthritis and arthritis.

How to Consume Turmeric

Consumption of turmeric can occur in many forms. Ayurvedic doctors often recommend incorporating it into daily cooking practices, rather than taking a capsule. The spice, slightly spicy, pairs well with curry, cinnamon, and cloves. You can drink it with warm milk or water, or in a tea, as many companies now sell turmeric tea. In general, it’s recommended not to have more than 3 mg/kg per day. Also, turmeric is best absorbed into the body when it is taken with a healthy fat source, like avocado, or when it is paired with black pepper which has an activating compound, piperine, which helps the turmeric infuse into the body.

Ginger and Gingerol: Soothe the Body

Ginger, when consumed in powdered or the raw root form, is an excellent source of anti-inflammation properties for the body. The active compounds in the root, gingerol and zingerone, have been studied for their abilities to reduce the effects of colitis, kidney damage, diabetes and cancer. It also can fight oxidative damage, the accumulation of harmful free radicals, or toxins, in the body through food, the environment, and cleaning and beauty products. Ginger, like many spices and roots, must be taken in doses. It is recommended not to consume more than 2-3 grams, as an excess can cause digestive issues or heartburn. It is a warming flavor, often paired well with clove, cinnamon, curry, and cayenne pepper. When cooking with ginger, it can easily be used to coat poultry, fish, or vegetables. There are also many teas that are infused with ginger, or a simple boiled water with ginger can suffice.

Cayenne Pepper: Spice of Life

turmeric cayenne pepper anti inflammatory
Cayenne pepper anti inflammatory

 

Though a spicy food doesn’t typically conjure images of anti-inflammation, cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, the compound that makes the pepper hot, and that also helps with inflammation. The pepper also contains antioxidants, flavonoids and phytonutrients that break down free radicals at a cellular level, leading to less inflammation. Recommended doses, according to University of Maryland’s Medical Center, is between 30-120 mg. It can be consumed in powder form, added to food, or taken as a supplement.

Getting Started with Anti-Inflammation

These three sources of anti-inflammatory properties can be incorporated into the daily diet in a variety of ways. Start with one and notice if there are any improved effects in the body. From there, begin to incorporate other foods that can reduce inflammation and, combined with a healthy diet and exercise and plentiful amount of water, enjoy the benefits of a more relaxed body.

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