It’s no secret that during menopause your body goes through an immense amount of changes. Not only does menopause take an emotional toll, but your body composition begins to fluctuate, leaving you unable to stay as fit as easily as you once did. The good news is, once you know what you’re dealing with, there are a few open secrets to keep you (or get you back) on track to a fit and healthy menopause.
Why Your Metabolism Slows Down During Menopause?
While many people like to place the blame with your fluctuating hormone levels, the reality is it’s likely many factors that can cause your metabolism to slow down during menopause. There is evidence to suggest that when there is a lack of estrogen, your body will use starches and blood sugar less effectively, causing an increase in fat storage, slowing down your metabolic rate. Tests have also shown that with lower estrogen levels, there is a tendency to eat more and be less physically active, which also affects metabolism.
So, while combating the change in estrogen levels, these age-related factors may also cause menopausal weight gain:
- Loss of muscle mass, reducing your resting metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight
- Lack of exercise, or general activity
- Decrease in intensity of workouts
Exercising To Keep You Fit and Healthy
When it comes down to it, at any age, the more active you are, the less likely you are to put on weight. And while you may not see the side effects of increasing your activity levels right away, keeping a consistent workout routine will fight off weight gain, as well as improve the overall quality of your life. So, what should you be doing to stay fit and healthy:
- Strength Training: Strength training not only helps to build muscle and improve your resting metabolic rate, it is the best way to maintain your bone mass, which helps to prevent osteoporosis. Strength training includes everything from weight machines, dumbbell, exercise bands, body resistance training like yoga or TRX, etc. Maintaining your muscle mass can be as easy as two or three strength training sessions per week. Scared to start a routine by yourself? Sign up for a couple of personal training sessions to let a professional show you the best exercises and proper form.
- Aerobics: Not only is aerobic exercise good for your heart and lungs, you can do it absolutely anywhere and almost anything. Great examples of aerobic exercise include swimming, bike riding, jogging, and the most convenient, walking! If you are dedicating 30 minutes (just 2% of the entire day) most days per week, you are on your way to staying trim and healthy.
- Small Calorie Blasters: Take up activities and hobbies that get you up and moving. For example, moderate gardening will burn anywhere from 200-400 calories per hour for an average-sized woman. By volunteering at your local animal rescue, or food shelters, you’re doing good for your community AND your body.
The Diet Changes You SHOULD Be Making
Did you know the average American will consume well over their average 2,000 calories daily caloric intake on most days? What can you do to make sure you stay where you need to be? For starters, you should probably be eating less, but no less than 1,200 calories per day. Also remember, reducing calories does not mean reducing nutrition. So, what and how should you be eating?
- Lean Proteins: Foods like skinless chicken and turkey, fish, and duck not only taste amazing but take more effort for your body to digest, adding up to more calories burned. You should aim to get around 18-20% of your calories from lean proteins every day. If you’re working on a vegetarian diet, sticking with low-fat dairy products, as well as legumes and beans is a great way to keep those protein levels up.
- Fiber: Never skimp on the fiber. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can be relatively low in calories but high in volume, taking longer to eat. Meals with a high fiber content will fill you up quickly and completely, effectively curbing your appetite helping you to maintain, or even lose weight.
- Eating Consciously: Mindless eating is the number one cause of weight gain, especially during menopause. For the first few weeks, keep a log of everything you are eating and evaluate where you can cut the fat. (Yes, pun intended!) And remember that in some cases, the feeling of hunger is actually a stage or dehydration, so before you settle on a snack, finish that glass of water you have sitting on the counter. And a good rule of thumb is, if you’re not hungry enough for an apple, you’re probably not hungry at all.
Need a little more advice regarding how you can stay fit and healthy during menopause? The medical professionals at Miami OBGYN are always here to answer your questions!Leave a reply →