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Whether we like it or not, for us women- menopause is an inevitable part of the aging process. And there seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding this very natural process.

Granted it does come with some unpleasant symptoms, such as:

  • Reduced Sex Drive
  • Mood Swings
  • Insomnia
  • Hot Flashes
  • Weight Gain etc.
  • Weakened Bones

You may have seen your mother, aunt or other female relative go through menopause and see how it affects them, but what we should focus on is how to embrace this beautiful and natural change our bodies go through.

First, let’s get a better understanding of what menopause is.

Menopause is caused by the change in balance of your body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older. It occurs when your ovaries stop producing as much oestrogen and no longer releases an egg each month.

Typically menopause occurs when your menstrual cycle ceases completely (after 12 consequential months). Most commonly, women will begin to experience menopause between ages 40-58, however there are some women who can experience it as early as their 30’s and as late as their 60’s. 

While menopause is a natural and inevitable part of life, that doesn’t mean we have to fear and dread it. EMBRACE it and learn how you will be able to help your body go through this beautiful part of life.

Since we know menopause is looming in our future no matter what we do, there is some peace of mind knowing we can at least strive to reduce symptoms we may experience during this process.

Here are some natural ways to reduce symptoms of menopause:

Maintain a healthy weight
One of the woes that can come with menopause, is weight gain- which is often unwanted. This could be from lack of sleep from menopause, the changes in your hormones, or just simply your lifestyle during menopause (you may feel more sluggish and less mobile). It’s important to maintain a healthy weight to reduce risk of health concerns down the road. A healthy weight will also help with your self esteem and confidence. We all feel better when we feel confident about ourselves. It helps boost our mood and builds up our self esteem.

This is where exercise also comes into play.
Exercise is important for all aspects of life. Exercise helps boost our mood and keep us healthy and active. It can also help reduce symptoms of menopause and make them a bit more tolerable.

Include Foods Rich in Vitamin D and Calcium into Your Diet
Hormonal changes during menopause can cause bones to weaken thus increasing the risk of bone deterioration. Calcium and vitamin D are widely known to benefit bone health, so it makes sense to ensure you are getting enough of them in your diet.

Calcium is most beneficial for strong bones.
Calcium rich foods include:

  • Dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese
  • Green, leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens and spinach
  • Tofu
  • Beans

It is also said that sufficient vitamin D intake in postmenopausal women is also associated with a lower risk of hip fractures due to weakened bones. Sunlight is our main source of Vitamin D, but there are other ways we can get Vitamin D. Such as supplementation and foods rich in Vitamin D

Such as:

  • Red meat
  • Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals.

Avoid Foods That May Trigger Symptoms
Some women find there are certain foods that can trigger symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood swings.

2 common culprits are caffeine and alcohol. Spicy foods can also increase these symptoms and should be consumed in moderation so as to not worsen your symptoms. 

Drink More Water
Hydration is beneficial in ALL aspects of health.

It is common for women to experience dryness during menopause. The likely cause of this is the estrogen decrease during menopause. Hot flashes and sweating can also lead to dryness and dehydration. Drinking ample water: 8-12 glasses a day will help with this. 

Stick to a Proper Diet
Along with calcium and vitamin d rich foods, it is important to keep a balanced diet and not skip out on a meal. Protein is important during menopause. When estrogen decreases during menopauses, it can decrease muscle mass and bone strength. A proper intake of protein may help prevent this loss and also assist in mood regulation and sleep.

It is also important to avoid a lot of carbs and sugar if you can, as it can cause rises and dips in blood sugar, which can make you feel more tired and irritable. 

You will also want to ensure you stick to a proper meal plan. Irregular eating can cause menopause symptoms to worsen. Having a proper eating schedule will help decrease your symptoms. 

So there you have it. Some easy and natural ways to help you during this milestone of your life. Remember, aging is a beautiful and natural part of life, no matter what can come with it. So embrace your menopause and take control of your symptoms. 



Resources:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/menopause-resource-center/best-exercises/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12540414/

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/737143_2#:~:text=Due%20to%20a%20decrease%20in,and%20prevent%20and%20treat%20osteoporosis.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21702289/

https://www.henryford.com/blog/2019/03/what-to-eat-or-not-during-menopause

These are uncertain and unprecedented times. Not as many gyms are open, some are at full capacity, or you may just want to stay home as much as you can. Whatever the reason may be-doesn’t mean you have to put a damper in your workout routine.

Even without any equipment, and even if you only have a small space, there are ample at-home workouts and exercises you can do to keep up with your fitness routine and stay active, while of course being in the comfort of your own home!

Take a look around the room you’re currently in. What items do you see?
Many of the items around you can be used to work out and exercise!

No weights to lift? No problem. Find something around 2-5 lbs depending on your comfort level.

Have a bag of potatoes lying around? Boom- there is your weight lifting!

Before lifting anything, make sure you have a proper stance and bend with your knees. You can rotate 10-15 reps between each arm. OR use both arms at once, lifting it like a sack for 20-30 reps (whatever you may feel comfortable with)

Ok so now you have a bag of potatoes for weight lifting, what’s next?

Here are some other At Home Workouts for you to try:

Squats (or Assisted Squats)
This can be done without any equipment, or if needed, you may use something to help keep you upright (something sturdy to hold on to)

Bending down while keeping your back upright, arms out in front of you, down and up.
25 reps.

Bicycles
Use a yoga mat or soft surface below you: Lie on your back feet in the air and your knees bent. Make the motion of riding a bicycle. 
10 reps.

Push-ups.
Again you will want a mat or soft surface. This workout can even help strengthen your lower back. 10 reps. 

Walking lunges.
Ensure you have ample space around you to lunge. Do 10 for each leg. 

Jumping Jacks
These are simple enough, most of us have done jumping jacks in our childhood- plus they can be fun when you have the right music pumping!
30 reps.

Crunches or Sit Ups.
These are great for your stomach. Just 30 reps a day will work to help strengthen your upper body core. 

Walk.
This will allow you to get some fresh air while getting exercise. Walk your dog or just go solo with some nice music pumping into your ears. Walking 30 minutes a day is great for your overall health.

You can also follow a work out video from youtube or other media platforms.

Have a baby or toddler? Think of ways to incorporate taking care of them into your fitness routine. There is even a thing called Mommy Yoga!

Try this technique below:

  • Sit down on your mat facing your seated baby, supporting them by holding their hands (or wrapping your hands around the upper body  working on sitting up).
  • Bend your knees and bring your heels together as close to your pelvis as you can, opening your knees out to the sides. Position your baby’s heels together- mirroring your position
  • Continue to hold on to your baby as you shift your upper body from left to right and back and forward, moving together.
  • You can hold this pose as long as you’d like, but for your baby 5 of your inhales/exhales should be a good count, which of course you may need to adjust depending on how well your baby takes to it!

Now, all that being said, there are always some things to keep in mind when working out, home or at the gym. Especially if you are new to a fitness regime. 

  • Start slowly and build up gradually. Make sure you give yourself plenty of warm up time with some stretching. 
  • Break things up if you have to-don’t overdo yourself all at once. Split up the workouts throughout the day or into sections if needed.
  • Stay hydrated. It is crucial to keep hydrated when working out, the more you sweat- the more you will need to hydrate. 
  • Listen to your body- if a certain workout or exercise is causing pain or discomfort, move on. Try something else or take a break. 

Staying home doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goals- these workouts from home will keep you on track- all from the comfort of your living room!

And always remember to stay hydrated and only do what you can. You may want to push yourself but if your body is telling you no, then slow down and take a rest- there is always tomorrow 🙂



Resources:

https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/mommy-and-me-yoga