There are around 15 million women in the UK who are either menopausal or post-menopausal. There are even more who are peri-menopausal and starting to notice more subtle changes in their body.
As the menopause swings into full effect, women may notice a number of significant symptoms. These range from hot flashes and sleep disturbances to changes in the skin and hair, plus fluctuations in mood.
The menopause is a perfectly natural stage of a woman’s life and is caused by declining sex hormones. It typically starts from the age of 45 but peri-menopausal symptoms may start sooner.
Although the menopause can’t be avoided, there are some steps you can take to manage the effects and minimise any discomfort. A lifestyle and wellness coach can provide support to work with your body and optimise your physical and mental health.
The Importance of Exercise
Exercise is important at any stage of life, but it becomes especially vital during the menopause. Ideally, you’ll be in good physical condition before the menopause hits, but it’s never too late to stay increasing your activity.
The changing level in hormones means that it’s common to put on weight, especially around the midriff. At the same time, muscle mass can start to decline and the risk of osteoporosis increases.
Regular exercise can help with all of these, minimising muscle loss and helping to keep those unwanted pounds away. Ensuring that your exercise includes some strength training will help to prevent osteoporosis.
It’s a good idea to have a mix of exercise, including both strength training and some cardio. After menopause, the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes can increase, but exercise can make a huge difference.
There are mental benefits to exercise too. As your fitness improves, you’ll feel better about yourself and more confident navigating the menopause. Exercise also releases endorphins, nature’s own anti-depressant.
And don’t forget, exercise doesn’t have to mean sweating it out through an aerobics class that you hate! It might be a fun Zumba class, playing tennis or even strenuous work out in the garden! Find the exercise that you enjoy, and you’ll be much more likely to stick to it.
Eating Yourself Well
As oestrogen levels reduce during the menopause, your metabolism can be affected, leading to weight gain. A healthy diet can help to prevent weight gain as well as also helping to relieve some of the menopausal symptoms.
Increasing your intake of dairy products can promote bone strength, combatting osteoporosis; some studies have shown dairy can also improve quality of sleep.
Insulin resistance, high blood sugar and metabolic syndrome have all been linked to a higher rate of hot flashes during the menopause. Sugary and highly processed foods are both known to raise the blood sugar rapidly. Therefore, avoiding any foods which are high in sugar or heavily processed may help to manage hot flashes, decreasing their frequency and intensity.
A lack of hydration can also make hot flashes worse so it’s essential to drink enough water.
Fruits and vegetables play an important role during the menopause, improving sleep, lifting mood, and alleviating fatigue. Cruciferous vegetables can also provide some protection against breast cancer.
A wellness coach online session can put together a personalised diet plan to boost your health and minimise menopausal symptoms with good nutrition.
Supplement for Complete Health
Exercise and a good diet are key components in managing the menopause effectively but taking carefully selected supplements can give you that final level of protection.
Coenzyme Q (10) is an antioxidant that’s needed for essential cell functioning. It helps to convert food into energy and can reduce mood swings, hot flashes, and depression. Coenzyme Q (10) production starts to tail off with age and HRT can reduce levels further. There is some evidence that CoQ10 can also lessen the cognitive decline which occurs during the menopause and protect cardiovascular health.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be gained from regularly eating fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel or eating seeds such as hemp and chia. It may be useful for menopausal women to increase their intake by taking a supplement, as omega-3 can prevent night sweats and hot flashes.
Get Your Personalised Plan
Eating well, exercise and supplements can make a huge difference to menopausal symptoms, but it can be hard to know where to start. Get in touch for personalised advice from a lifestyle and wellness coach and you’ll quickly notice the difference it makes.