Energy levels And The Menopause By Kate Rowe-Ham
Did you know that there are 34 symptoms as we go through Menopause? You won’t experience all, and some women may experience none at all. However, there is one common symptom that so many women talk about, their lack of energy. This can happen for a number of reasons and the good news is that you can do something about it.
When you enter the perimenopausal phase, your hormones will rise and fall like a rollercoaster. Over time your female hormones decrease until your body stops making them. These hormonal changes will impact your energy levels and can lead you to feeling fatigued. Add night sweats to the fatigue that you are already experiencing, and it will undoubtedly leave you feeling more exhausted. This is also a time when many of us find ourselves caring for children, elderly or sick parents, which can add another layer as we try to manage more than we have capacity for!
However, if we are better prepared for the changes that will inevitably occur, then we can equip ourselves for this transition which may help us avoid these feelings of exhaustion.
If we can learn to make time for regular exercise in our late 30’s, it will be easier to stick to a routine when we do start our menopause journey. Getting into good habits early and finding your “fitness groove” (work out what’s right for you whether that’s walking, weights or workouts) lays a great foundation for “midlife”. Exercise is one of the best solutions for fatigue and can increase energy levels. It can also improve other menopause symptoms such as helping to avoid weight gain, which can contribute to lower energy levels.
Nutrition is also key for management and preparation of menopause, and if we can start to implement some positive lifestyle changes sooner rather than later you will find it easier in the long run. You only need to make some subtle changes here. By including more protein in your diet and cutting back on alcohol, sugary and processed foods, you will give yourself the best chance when it comes to managing any more severe symptoms. Again, the sooner you incorporate these changes the easier it will be.
Supplements can also play an important role in supporting women’s wellbeing at this time – and can be useful for those for whom HRT is not an option to provide some additional support. Likewise, for those on HRT, super supplements like Meno Active can help women ensure they are doing all they can to manage their symptoms and help boost their energy levels which can often be impacted at this time. Taking the right supplements and exercising can be key if you are struggling with low energy and have days when it’s a challenge to find the time to nourish your body correctly.
As our sleep is often heavily impacted at this time, it would be a good time to look at implementing some sleeping rituals. Leave your phone in the kitchen at night and read before bed. You could try some mindfulness and breath work, calming the body and clearing the mind. If you find techniques before you enter menopause, you will know you have a great toolkit to use when the time comes.
If you haven’t had the time to prepare and your menopause has taken you by surprise, please know you can still do something about it. This really is a time when you can thrive if you make some essential lifestyle changes – look at how you are moving your body to make sure you’re getting the maximum benefits and results.
As mentioned previously by Kate Rowe-Ham, a lack of energy and fatigue can see you putting off your workouts, and there can be other obstacles to overcome including;
1. Night sweats
2. Pelvic floor issues
3. Lack of confidence
4. Fear of failure
5. Lack of time
What is important to understand is that exercise and nourishing your body will help you manage many of these.
Many women start to find that their usual fitness routine isn’t doing what it had previously delivered. This is due to falling levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone which can contribute to changes in your body composition. Women find that they are beginning to store a little more fat around their middle and hips and it’s important that we adjust our training to help combat these changes.
This is a time when I see so many women overtrain and undereat, because they are fearful of weight gain. Please note this will only put more strain on your body and in fact lead you to feeling more lethargic as your body simply can’t fuel the workouts. In order to help yourself and make progress you will need to look at how, and the biggest question of all why, are you training at this time? It’s time to realise that exercise is more than “looking good” – we need to move for our bone, joint, heart, brain and mental wellbeing.
An ideal workout week for women going through menopause would include 2-3 strength training sessions, 1-2 cardio workouts – this could be HIIT, running, swimming, cycling – anything that elevates your heart rate. It’s important when you lift that you look at a program offering you the opportunity to build strength which will mean increasing weights over time.
The NHS recommends that we aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week. If you break this down into chunks it will seem more achievable at 30 minutes – 5 times a week. Now is the time to introduce weight training if you haven’t done so already. Strength training exercises will help you to build bone and muscle strength and support your metabolism.
Women must also recognise that rest is a fundamental part of any exercise program and as we go through menopause, we mustn’t be afraid to have days off. It will not hinder any progress, in fact, it will do the opposite.
Look beyond the aesthetic benefits of exercise because this will allow you to make progress and empower you as you journey through the menopause. If you stop chasing your 30-year-old self and look to future proofing your body for mobility, strength, and longevity, you can find a love of movement giving you energy for life!
Kate is supporting the launch of new super supplement, Menoactive. For more information, please visit http://www.reviveactive.com