Does it seem like no matter what exercise plan you try, it never seems to work? Changes in hormones in perimenopause and menopause can make weight loss difficult. Even if you’ve tried an exercise plan that’s worked for you throughout your entire life, midlife can totally change the way your body responds.
Keep reading below as we dive into common struggles that midlife women face in menopause, why they occur, and what you can do to change them. Choosing the right type of exercise for menopause can help you achieve the results you’re looking for.
“Push Through the Pain”
The “push through the pain” mindset has been ingrained into so many menopausal women. This “no pain, no gain” myth suggests you should ignore your body’s signs and continue to exercise, despite the pain. This big misconception can actually hold perimenopausal and menopausal women back, doing more harm than good. Here’s why.
When you “push through the pain”, the cortisol and adrenaline levels in your body will rise. In turn, your adrenal glands have to overwork to keep up with the demand. Consistently doing this will ultimately lead to adrenal burnout.
If you’re in pain, change your mindset and slow down. Exercise is vitally important, but not when it poses a detriment to your health. Instead of focusing on high-intensity exercise, take your exercise slow and build it up slowly over time. Low-intensity, aerobic exercises, like walking, is one of the most underrated exercises. If you can’t walk because your pain is too much, continue to rest and focus on getting better before you revisit exercise.
Common Problems Faced with Exercise in Menopause
Many perimenopausal and menopausal women face similar concerns surrounding exercise. Often, your friends or doctor might have told you to “eat less and move more”. Does this sound familiar? So many women try this only to find that it simply doesn’t work. In fact, this approach can cause you to gain weight in the end by raising your cortisol and stressing your adrenal glands.
During menopause, women also experience a drop in estrogen levels. The drop in estrogen can leave you with chronic pain, making exercise more difficult or unlikely. (P.S.…before I began supplementing with bio-identical estrogen, I could hardly get in and out of the car. I was in so much pain.
Lastly, menopausal women might fall into a “chronic cardio” routine, focusing on hours and hours of cardiovascular activities such as running. This can also leave your body’s adrenal glands stressed, making weight loss more difficult.
Changing the Mindset
As you switch your mindset to a primal-focused plan, you’ll need to completely reset your mindset. The things you were once told to do might actually be the opposite of what you need to do. First, listen to your body and do not push through the pain. If you’re in pain, it’s a sign you need to slow down.
Next, shift your mindset away from intense cardio and try a lower-intensity aerobic exercise, like walking. Unlike high-intensity exercise, walking can help to lower your cortisol and glucose levels, supporting your weight loss efforts. Not to mention, walking is excellent to support your mental health. Start small and slowly work your way up; there’s no rush!
Instead of high-intensity exercise such as running, switch to try low-intensity exercises such as stretching, yoga, and Pilates. These exercises are perfect for menopausal women and can even help relieve pain. Some women prefer to workout when fasting, helping to accelerate fat burning.
Changing the mindset you’ve held onto for years can be hard. Be patient with yourself, as you learn to better adjust your exercise routine for menopause. I invite you to follow me on Instagram at @menopausetheprimalway and on Facebook too to stay up-to-date on all things primal, menopause, exercise, and health-related.
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