As you know, I believe exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, I think exercise is so crucial to good health, I’ve incorporated a gym and medical exercise specialist into my practice, to help each of my patients establish an exercise plan well-suited to their unique needs.
So I’m always happy to read about research emphasizing the benefits of regular physical activity— like a recent study conducted in Finland. Researchers found that middle-aged women who exercise regularly report a higher quality of life and fewer symptoms of menopause compared to more sedentary women.
The researchers’ definition of “physically active” applied to women who got 2.5 hours of moderate activity (like fast-paced walking) per week or an hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity (such as jogging or running) per week. The physically active women also did strength or balance training at least twice a week.
Fifty-one percent of the participants met the definition of being physically active. These women reported better self-perceived health and overall quality of life than other women their age.
The other, less active women were more likely to suffer from menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. They were also more likely to experience other problems, such as anxiety, depression, memory problems, and body aches and pains.
I can certainly vouch for these study results. I’ve seen similar results in my own patients. Which is why I prescribe exercise for every person who sets foot in my office, including menopausal women.
I’m not going to lay out a full exercise plan here because, as I said above, it’s important to work with a skilled professional who can help you tailor a specific exercise regimen for your particular needs. That said, getting more physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated.
Don’t forget—exercise doesn’t always have to “feel” like exercise. Gardening, bowling, golfing, ballroom dancing…all of these hobbies get you moving—without a gym membership.
But even a short, 20-minute walk every day will do, especially if you’re a beginner. It may not sound like much, but as I’ve said many times, every little bit counts…and can add up to some big health benefits.
And not just for combatting menopausal symptoms. It increases longevity. And it decreases risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, cancer, bone loss, aging—you name it. When you get right down to it, exercise is just about the closest thing there is to a magic bullet—for both sexes.
You can read more specific recommendations regarding exercise in the article “The silent epidemic stealing your youth,” which appeared in the February 2014 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter. Subscribers can access this issue—and the complete archive—by visiting www.drpescatore.com and logging in to the Subscriber area of the website. You can also search for more information on other topics—like more natural ways to relieve menopause symptoms—by typing keywords into the Search function at the top right of the page.
And if you’re not already a subscriber, the website also has all the information you need to become one starting today.
“Physical activity and menopause-related quality of life – A population-based cross-sectional study.” Maturitas 2015; 80(1):69-74