Sure, we have all heard “exercise is good for you” – probably thousands of times…
When you review the medical studies and get down to the nitty-gritty SCIENCE to understand WHY this saying is so true – you may be a bit surprised. After some digging, I have gathered up the top 9 medically proven benefits of regular physical activity and exercise during midlife and menopause:
- Change in body composition: regular physical exercise increases your skeletal muscle mass and decreases fat mass.
- Improve bone mineral density (BMD): osteoporosis, the loss of bone mass, is one of the biggest concerns as women enter menopause. The number one recommendation for preventing this is a regular exercise regimen!!
- Reduce feelings of bodily pain (AKA: “body aches”), which is most commonly associated with arthritis, hip pain, or lower back discomfort. It may seem counterintuitive, but there you work those “tough spots,” the less they hurt in the long run.
- A shift in fat distribution: regular exercise promotes the shifting of weight away from the abdomen and more evenly distributes it throughout the body. Less central adiposity is excellent news for the menopause “inner-tube” (AKA: belly fat).
- Improve sleep quality and duration: there is an inverse relationship between the amount of physical activity and sleep issues – the more frequently one exercises, the less sleep disruptions, and problems result.
- Protect against the development of obesity and related diseases/complications associated with obesity, including type II diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, fatty liver, etc.
- Elevate your mood – the increased levels of neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine and serotonin, enhance endorphin secretions, and distract individuals from stressful stimuli. I think we could all use some distractions these days!!
- Decrease the risk of developing breast cancer- a study found that women who are regularly active have a 25-30% LOWER risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer than inactive women. This is absolutely astounding, and one of my biggest pushes to maintain regular physical activity.
- Increase your self-esteem and self-efficacy, your belief in your capacity to control your behavior, performance, and environment.
I hope you can now better understand why physical activity is absolutely imperative – this is true for all stages of life, but becomes increasingly important with age.
I developed the Galveston Diet MOVE mini-course to aide with your fitness efforts. All workouts can be done from the comfort of your own home and require little to no equipment. Light dumbbells and bands are encouraged but not required by any means. This mini-course will educate you on the importance of physical activity, especially for women, as they enter and experience mid-life and menopause. It will also provide you with a layout of the Galveston Diet HIIT exercises and an opportunity to create your own if you so desire. There are video demos and instructions of me doing each exercise.