Women’s Health Expert Marla Ahlgrimm Explains Why Fitness Counts During Menopause
Exercise is not the cure to menopause, but it often comes pretty close. According to women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm, exercise can lessen many of the most severe symptoms of menopause.
Q: How does fitness benefit women during and after menopause?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Physical activity during and after menopause offers many benefits. Fitness strengthens the bones, reduces the risk of many diseases, prevents weight gain, and boosts the mood.
Q: Can physical activities reduce menopausal symptoms?
Marla Ahlgrimm: While exercise cannot entirely prevent the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances, it may minimize these symptoms, reduce stress, and improve quality of life.
Q: Which physical activities are recommended for women experiencing menopause?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Any physical activity that uses large muscle groups and increases the heart rate. If you’re just starting out, begin with 10 minutes of light activity a day and then gradually increase both the intensity and duration. Regular strength training is also important. Research has shown that exercise is most effective if muscles and bones are being stressed.
Q: What is the key to reaching my fitness goals?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Consistency and realistic goals are important. Rather than vowing to exercise more, commit to a daily 30-minute workout. Teaming up with someone — such as a friend or neighbor — can make a difference, too. Finding a physical activity you love will help you stick with it.
Q: Can I improve fitness during and after menopause without joining a gym?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Absolutely! One doesn’t need a gym to improve fitness. You can improve fitness by walking, running, swimming or biking. Strength training can be done at home with your body weight (think pushups, planks, squats) and free weights. Menopause is a change, but it doesn’t mean you can’t improve fitness.