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Move Your Body; Avoid a Swelly Belly! PDF Print
Written by Editors, Red Hot Mamas   
Monday, 09 October 2006 08:41
Article Index
0.1. Menopause and Exercise
0.2. Plan Your Fitness Program
0.3. Committing to Exercise

There are so many things to question during the menopause years. Is HT right for me? Am I at risk for cardiovascular disease? Is osteoporosis going to inflict me? Am I doing the right thing for my hot flashes?

With all of these questions weighing you down, it is easy to forget the most important ingredients to remain healthy through the change. Eating healthy, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake and exercising regularly are constants throughout our lives. These are the flour, sugar, butter and eggs of our chocolate chip cookies, if you will. You cannot make the cookies without adding these staple items.

Fan your hot flashes away with physical fitness! Yes, you really can control your power surges with regular exercise. Actually, only 1 in 20 women who exercise experience hot flashes. Some experts believe soy solutions for hot flashes actually work better when exercise is incorporated into the regimen. If reducing hot flashes isn’t enough to make you lace up your sneakers, maybe some of these other perks will!

  • Improves muscle strength, tone and flexibility
  • Promotes sense of well-being and enhances self-esteem
  • Reduces depression and anxiety; relaxes and revitalizes; reduces mental and muscular tension; increases concentration and energy level
  • Weight bearing exercise helps develop and preserve bone
  • Aerobic exercise prevents cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce or maintain body weight or body fat
  • Reduces risk of developing diabetes
  • Reduces risk of developing colon cancer and breast cancer
  • Reduces high cholesterol or the risk of developing high cholesterol
  • Decreases risk of osteoporosis
  • Decreases arthritis symptoms; keeps joints flexible and helps build muscle to support the joint
  • Decreases chance of premature death

Still not convinced? For the perimenopausal, firing up a fitness plan can relieve symptoms of anxiety, irritability, mood swings, decreased libido and depression. There is truth behind the “runner’s high”. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that naturally elevate your mood and relieve pain.

0.1. Menopause and Exercise

Do you have a swelly belly? Have you noticed your body is changing its shape as you grow older? Most women will gain about 10 to 15 pounds during their menopausal years. The “swelly belly syndrome” is common during menopause. Instead of that pear shape, you become more of an apple-shape as your weight moves from your thighs and hips to your abdomen.

It is estimated that women gain about one pound each year from their late thirties through their mid-sixties. Our metabolism slows down with age. The body loses muscle and doesn’t burn enough calories which leads to weight gain. If you incorporate just 20 to 30 minutes of activity into your daily life, it is possible to maintain your present weight or lose weight.

Your body needs exercise and movement to be healthy. According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 deaths per year are due to inactive, overweight and sedentary lifestyles. Inactive, sedentary people are frailer than active people. They are more likely to suffer from a serious fall that could lead to hospitalization, permanent disability, dependence or even death.

In our age-obsessed society, we are constantly hearing of how we can reverse the aging process by buying into one of the many products that promise to do this. Instead of taking that anti-aging pill, focus on fitness. It can add years to your life and life to your years.

Our remote control, computerized, drive-through culture has forced exercise to become an extracurricular activity these days. For many people, there is “work” involved in “working out” but there doesn’t have to be!

Incorporating walking or bicycling into your primary mode of transportation can not only reduce traffic, air pollution and save gas money, it can also add precious minutes to your physical activity routine each day.

0.2. Plan Your Fitness Program

You don’t have to go to the gym or invest in expensive equipment. All it takes is a good pair of sneakers, some motivation and a little time. Before beginning any exercise program it is essential to talk to your healthcare provider. Depending on your personal fitness level, there are ways to prevent injury and maximize benefits. In general, there are three types of exercise that are important to incorporate into your lifestyle.

Aerobic Exercise:

This doesn’t have to be the Jane Fonda type. You don’t need to be a hermit and close all of the curtains in your house to “Get Fit” with Denise Austin. You have other options! This type of exercise overloads the heart and lungs causing them to work harder than at rest. It also promotes cardiovascular health and weight control. Keep your heart rate elevated for a continuous time period with the following activities:

  • Walking fast, jogging or running
  • Aerobic dance
  • Bicycling
  • Cross country skiing
  • In-line skating
  • Jump roping
  • Stair climbing
  • Swimming
  • Ice skating

Anaerobic or isometric exercise:

This type helps increase muscle strength tone and stamina. This is the type of exercise that hones in on particular muscle groups and works them out in strenuous bursts for relatively short periods of time. This type of exercise is particularly important for elderly people. As we age, our muscle mass turns to fat and we get weaker. Everyday activities like getting up from chairs and carrying groceries can become difficult. Anaerobic exercise can make these activities easier. Anaerobic activities include:

  • Yoga
  • Calisthenics
  • Tai chi
  • Weight lifting
  • Working out on the Nautilus

Flexibility Exercise:

Improve balance and agility by stretching and becoming more flexibile. Before taking on aerobic or anaerobic forms, it’s important to do your stretches to prevent injuries! Incorporate this type of exercise into your daily routine.

When planning your fitness program, keep in mind, you don’t have to do all three types of exercise in one day. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests alternating aerobic and anaerobic types of exercise for two or three thirty minute sessions each week and on alternate days.

Schedule your fitness calendar to incorporate two rest days (preferably not back to back) in the week. Always start each day with a warm up and cool down period. Some light, gentle stretching or slow walking are good activities.

0.3. Committing to Exercise

One of the keys to preventing health problems, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, losing weight and staying fit is committing time to your weekly workout. The first step to commitment is starting where you are right now, no matter what kind of shape you’re in. Practice a holistic approach to lifetime fitness. Be mindful of integrating exercise into your busy life. Transform the painful, boring trips to the gym into enjoyable and convenient moments.

Take your friend on a bicycle ride or walk with them. A little conversation can go a long way. Start walking and chatting with a friend and you could easily pass the time walking a few miles! Relax and have fun.

Change it up! Working out on the same exercise machines can be excruciatingly boring. Try a new sport, hike a new trail, bicycle a new road. Incorporate a more active lifestyle into your daily routing by taking extra stairs, walking to the store or bicycling to a movie. You’d be surprised how many everyday activities are calorie burners!

Last Updated on Friday, 28 October 2011 15:08

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