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Training through Perimenopause & Menopause

There are many unique physical, mental and emotional challenges for women during these transitional years. Symptoms of Perimenopause can be very confusing and frustrating. Fortunately, exercise has proven to be very beneficial in relation to managing symptoms and increasing the quality of life for women during this time.

Perimenopause is that period in a woman's life when ovulation declines and periods become sporadic, sometimes heavier, usually in the late 40's.  Symptoms include weight gain,  cramps, PMS, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and irritability - to name a few... any one of these can compromise quality of life. Hormone levels are decreasing, and women become estrogen dominant. These shifting hormones are responsible for the symptoms experienced during this transition. (90% of these symptoms are due to a drop in Progesterone.)

Menopause is a natural part of life, but quality of life during menopause depends on how a woman chooses to face the challenge.  Most of the challenges faced by women are due to the lack of Progesterone, while Estrogen continues to dominate and wreak havoc. Estradiol is responsible for 6 different hormonal cancers in women, and during menopause, this toxic hormone is unopposed by Progesterone. Estradiol is a lipogenic hormone, creating fat around the hips, thighs, and buttocks.

Progesterone is the most important ovarian hormone for women to replace in Menopause.

 

The protocol needed to resolve these symptoms includes a combination of  exercise, correct diet to stabilize blood sugar and fuel the brain and body, and balancing Estradiol with Bioidentical USP Progesterone cream.  Women who incorporate these methods can reduce and manage menopausal symptoms and greatly improve quality of life.

Physical activity becomes even more important than ever. It's during this time that women have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, decreased bone mineral density, musculoskeletal symptoms, depression & obesity. Studies have shown that as many as 60% of perimenopausal women are overweight and there's a strong association that this added weight causes more severe symptoms. The added body fat contributes to the amount of toxic estradiol, which is now unopposed by Progesterone. Women never stop making Estradiol, it is made in our fat cells. Age-related muscle and strength loss is expedited in menopausal women, and this issue is exacerbated by low levels of physical activity.

 

Exercise yields many health benefits, and is an effective way to decrease cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoperosis, obesity, anxiety & depression. Additionally, exercise improves brain function, muscle strength, balance, and can relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Benefits of physical activity causes elevations in moods that can still be present for 24 hours after exercising.  

Research has shown that for exercise to have a maximum benefit on symptom relief and improved quality of life during this transition, it should be of moderate intensity - not Low or High intensity exercise. 

 

The target heart rate for women who are seeking symptom relief is 50-70% of their Maximum Heart Rate. Additionally, resistance training is recommended to increase bone mineral density and to help maintain a healthy BMI.  Exercise is most beneficial when done 60 minutes a day, most days of the week.

At ARC Fitness, I have the perfect program for women who are going through this mid-life phase. I offer a 60 minute workout which combines 30 minutes of one-on-one personal training with 30 minutes of total-body, weight-bearing cardio.  This 60 minute workout is very popular, with many women choosing to exercise 2-3 times each week.  The training is completely customized to bring each client to their goals, and the cardio is very effective and easily adapted to each user's needs.

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