If you were to ask women nearing time for the "change of life" what they fear most, the majority would say the dreaded menopause weight gain. It is not an issue of vanity but a real concern for a number of reasons. For starters, let us ask – is weight gain common for women going through menopause? The answer – unfortunately yes but these changes appear to be closely connected to both behavioral and physiological changes often seen with aging more than to hormonal changes.
Studies show that with menopause, there is a decline in fat-free mass that occurs with a resting metabolic rate, which can be caused by a number of factors. For example, when the ovaries are no longer functioning and the person is in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, the resting metabolic rate is affected. In addition, women will often have an increased appetite during and after menopause, which adds to the menopause weight gain problem even more.
Then you consider that a menopausal woman does not always feel as active or energetic as normal, meaning her level of activity is now decreased. All of these things could easily result in some level of weight gain. In addition, for years rumors have circulated that hormone replacement therapy is a huge cause of menopause weight gain but those rumors have since been squelched. Although menopause weight gain is frustrating regarding the way in which a woman looks and feels, it comes with a more critical risk of high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high blood lipid levels.
If you look at postmenopausal women, they are normally at higher risk for coronary heart disease. Part of this is because the estrogen levels are reduced while low and total density lipoprotein cholesterol levels increased. The number one question women nearing or going through menopause ask is how menopause weight gain can be avoided. Remember, it is crucial that women get on a good exercise and dietary plan. Since the weight gain has more to do with age, these simple steps can make a huge difference. Beyond that, it is important to talk to a qualified doctor to see what medication or supplements are recommended. The result is a healthier lifestyle!
Work Your Body’s Kinks Out – Literally
Of course, over the course of your life, you’ve probably found that any doctor, nutritionist, colleague, or book will tell you that exercise is one of the most important factors in maintaining your health and longevity, you probably simply don’t get enough. Even though we know that regular exercise helps prevent bone loss, keeps our hearts strong, helps us get a better night of sleep, and keeps our weight in check, we seldom get as much as we need.
If you’ve suffered from menopause weight gain, exercise will help, especially any cardiovascular activity that will increase your circulation and keep your joints moving – and you don’t need to spend time on a treadmill! Thirty minutes a day of walking, jogging, dancing, or swimming will keep you fit while helping you sleep at night, which, as we’ve mentioned, is one of the key things you can do for yourself to alleviate several of the other symptoms. Exercise regimens such as yoga will also increase your circulation while keeping you flexible and teaching you relaxation techniques that can be used to get you through hot flashes or the worst nights of sleeplessness.
In addition to getting enough exercises for your entire body, pelvic exercises known as Kegels will strengthen these muscles, and can help you maintain a healthy, strong, and well-lubricated vagina after your estrogen levels wreak their havoc on that part of your body. This will help all of the problems associated with thinning vaginal walls, including urinary problems or incontinence, uncomfortable sex, or an increase in urinary tract infection.
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