Dr Potter shares advice for ‘menopause belly’
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Menopause is a natural part of ageing that can have a huge impact on women’s daily life. There are many symptoms, including weight gain, that can arise and can last months, even years, and many women often find themselves at a loss on what to do.
Rachael Penrose, a personal trainer from F45 Paddington, revealed why exercise could be the solution menopausal woman have been looking for.
While exercise is essential for weight loss, the intensity of it depends on the individual.
It has been suggested that people who are not regular exercisers will need to do very little for it to feel intense.
On the other hand, others who have led a more active life will need to up their movement and will be better suited to try high-intensity training instead.
Prevents weight gain
It is to be expected that women going through menopause can lose muscle mass and gain abdominal fat.
Rachael revealed regular exercise can help prevent that unwanted weight gain and shed any excess pounds women may be carrying.
She said: “Your body burns more calories more efficiently as you gain muscle, ultimately making it easier to control your weight and maintain a healthier, physical lifestyle.
“High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been known to be beneficial for menopausal women for this reason, as it improves insulin resistance and prevents abdominal fat.”
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In general, it is recommended that all adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities that work all of the major muscle groups, such as the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.
If people include HIIT into their weekly workout routines, they should tailor their overall exercise routine to aim for an equivalent mix of moderate and high-intensity exercise every week, along with those same two days of strength training.
Dr Pamela Peeke, author of Body for Life for Women, explained that women should start with a mix of moderate and vigorous exercise to burn off menopausal weight gain.
She suggested their routines should include aerobic exercises like swimming, walking, bicycling, and running, as well as resistance or strength training.
She said: “What you want to employ now is HIIT. Basically, that means that moderate levels of exercise are interspersed with high-intensity intervals throughout the week.”
Not only does menopause bring about unwanted weight gain, but it can also increase the risk of osteoporosis and significantly speed up bone loss.
Research indicates that up to 20 percent of bone loss can happen during these stages and approximately one in 10 women over the age of 60 are affected worldwide.
Rachel said: “Exercise that includes weight training and strength training can be essential for bone strength.
“[This also] lowers the risk of fractures and osteoporosis and helps you maintain a healthy weight during menopause.”
Menopause doesn’t just present itself physically; some women going through the midlife change often struggle far more with their mental health and coming to terms with the changes in their bodies, than premenopausal women.
Rachel explained: “Exercise is known to boost your mood and release endorphins, which in turn can help relieve mental stress and pain. It is particularly helpful when going through menopause.”
Stress has been proven to be a huge player when it comes to weight gain. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism and creates a surge of energy in the body, bringing about cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods.
“Physically active adults have a lower risk of depression and cognitive decline and by having a regular exercise routine, you can not only boost your physical, but mental wellbeing too,” Rachel added.
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