Couldn’t sleep last night? Feeling the coffee is doing nothing for you? Feeling stressed and anxious for no apparent reason? These are very common symptoms felt by millions of women experiencing menopause. This milestone in a woman’s life is unavoidable. So how can you mitigate this challenge with the best possible health during and after? Researchers are finding exercise as an excellent first line of defense.
A recent study published this August by the Menopause Journal suggested that exercise three times a week may reduce symptoms of insomnia, fatigue and stress. The recommended standard for weekly exercise is 2.5 hours. Research suggests that this amount of moderate intensity workouts can significantly reduce or prevent chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. By adding in weight bearing workouts like walking, running or lifting, you also gain the benefit of reducing your risk of osteoporosis. Finally, exercise is also known for increasing confidence, improving mood and sex drive.
All the benefits seem so intriguing and motivating, but we all know it’s easier said than done. Integrating consistent exercise into your daily life takes time to establish. There is a good deal of trial and error trying to find out what resonates with you. Some feel best by running, others by swimming or dancing. Luckily, there is something for everyone. Outlined below is one plan that is rising in popularity and has helped other women like you achieve their goal of increasing daily activity and reducing menopausal symptoms.
Set of goal of reaching 10,000 steps a day.
Walking has been shown to reduce stress and increase energy. In addition, recent research has also shown that the physical coordination of walking actually facilitates right and left sided brain communication which assists in thinking clearly and making decisions. When a women is going through menopause, these added benefits can be a lifesaver!
Using a pedometer, find out how many steps you typically walk in one day. Then set a goal of 10,000 steps (approximately 5 miles). Gradually increase steps by incorporating more walking or other exercise in your day. Walking briskly (3.5 mph) for 10 minutes averages out to approximately 1,000 steps and walking a mile equals out to approximately 2,000 steps. If you do aerobics for 30 minutes it is equal to 2,000 steps. If you cycle for 30 minutes (13 mph average) it equals 4,000 steps. Many people find that tracking steps on a daily basis helps with maintaining motivation. Another bonus- walking 10,000 steps a day will burn approximately 450 calories!
Other ideas to reach your 10,000 step goal are:
- Park at the far end of the lot when running errands
- Bring walking/running shoes to use during your breaks at work
- Recruit a friend to join you in your goal or join a walking group
- Take after-dinner walks with your family
- Reward yourself after you hit your goal for 14 days straight
Here are some great resources to help you reach your goal:
- Smartphone App: Walkmeter GPS – Track Walking, Hiking, Running, Cycling
- Free workout videos: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/videos.asp
- Top 10 pedometer reviews: http://walking.about.com/od/measure/tp/pedometer.htm
- Nike Fuel Band – Set goals and track calories burned
To learn more about how you can increase you daily activity and what the right amount is for you, schedule an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor near you. With all the benefits and resources at your fingertips, now is a great time to talk to your partner or friend and ask them to join you in this health and lifestyle adventure!
By Haylee Nye NCNM Naturopathic Medicine Program. Edited by Dr Elise Schroeder