For many women, menopause can be trying on the nerves, marriage, and the waistline. When your hormones start driving you batty, take the opportunity to make a commitment to your health and well-being.
If you lead a sedentary life or if you have long been considering a lifestyle of increased physical activity, make the “change of life” your excuse to embrace exercise. If you suffer from hot flashes and night sweats, two of the most common menopause symptoms, evidence shows exercise may help reduce the frequency of these symptoms.
In addition, exercise can help you get a better night’s sleep, shed excess weight, and improve your cardiovascular health. Even moderate exercise can be enough to make a big difference – try taking a brisk walk every night after dinner for 20 minutes or swimming at the gym for 30 minutes 3 times per week.
Consider adding a simple weight lifting routine to your physical activity schedule. Many women begin to lose bone density after menopause, and strength training (combined with a healthy diet) has been shown to increase bone density. There is also evidence weight lifting may help improve your focus and boost your energy levels.
Whether you walk, paddle, or lift your way to better health, be sure to make exercise a part of your life during and after the “Big M.”
Reevaluate Your Diet
Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for mental health, energy levels, organ health, and general wellbeing. Take advantage of the menopausal motivation to rid your diet of processed foods and foods high in sugar, salt, fat, and additives.
With less of these substances in your diet, you can help avoid diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis while keeping your body leaner and preventing changes in complexion that reflect age.
During and after menopause, be sure to incorporate soy foods, calcium, and vitamin D into your diet. Soy products can help replace estrogen in your body, and calcium and vitamin D can help maintain proper bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
In addition to incorporating tofu and milk, take a look at your current diet and consider ways you could gradually begin to improve it. For instance, opt for fresh, whole vegetables and fruits instead of processed or packaged, and select canned or frozen foods without added sodium or sugar.
Treat Yourself to a Spa Day
Perhaps the best news of all is that you can include massages, meditation, and relaxation therapy in both your personal commitment to your health and your self-management of menopausal symptoms. These and other alternative treatments for menopause symptoms can relieve some of the mood swings, aches and pains, fatigue, memory loss, stress, and anxiety menopause can bring.
As if these perks weren’t enough, incorporating stress relief and relaxation strategies into your new lifestyle can offer benefits for your mental health well beyond menopause. Use your sanity and wellbeing as an excuse for a regular visit to the spa, yoga studio, therapist, or even just the bathtub!
Making the Most of Menopause
While many women experience a host of challenging and unpleasant symptoms during menopause, embracing a healthy lifestyle can help you minimize their impact and turn over a new leaf. If the first half of your life has left something to be desired in terms of managing your health, make menopause an impetus for change.
Turn your dreams of regular exercise, a balanced diet, and some “me time” into a reality by committing just a few minutes each day to positive, healthy changes. Life is too short to let menopause interfere, and with a little determination, you can make menopause the best (and healthiest) thing to ever happen to you!