How exercise can help through peri/menopause

How exercise can help through peri/menopause

I have been sharing my personal journey through the perimenopause openly on my Instagram page in the hope that it helps to change the narrative, break the taboos and get us all sharing, talking and seeking help.

I’m 44 but have been experiencing symptoms since the age of 40/41 (suppressed and then confused with post Covid symptoms.)

Perimenopause can start up to 10 years before the menopause but latest research is indicating that the menopause could be earlier for South Asian women (with 51 being the average age) so if you’re in your mid-30s please be aware of the symptoms and seek help.

HRT can be very important for long term heart, brain and bone health, but whether you go on HRT or not, lifestyle changes including EXERCISE can be a huge factor to help through the peri/menopause and for overall health.

I know it’s hard to motivate yourself to workout when you’re experiencing peri/menopausal symptoms but exercise can help to reduce them. The release of endorphins will help you feel good physically as well as mentally and reduce risks of chronic illnesses.

Remember that no amount is too small, hence why I promote my concept of “Exercise Snacking,” doing short bite size amounts of movement throughout the day.  You don’t need a full hour, even 5/10 minutes is beneficial.

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Build up gradually – the aim is to hit around 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio 5 times a week, which could be a walk 3x10 mins or even 6x5mins sprinkled in your day! My biggest tip is to make sure you are strength training (at least 2 times a week.)  Regular strength training can help you reduce body fat (the common “menopot”,) maintain a healthy weight and burn calories more efficiently. Building and preserving muscle mass is key to reduce risks of osteoporosis which is vital at this stage in our lives.

Start off small, find something you enjoy and be kind to yourself. When you’re not feeling great, do something realistic and achievable like: 

  • Going for a 10 minute “Feel Good Walk” outdoors, ideally in nature to banish brain fog and boost your mood; 

  • Do a 5-minute bodyweight workout while you’re making your coffee/cooking (maybe some squats, press ups, dips, planks and lunges;) - then adding weights as you get progress; 

  • If you’re stuck behind your desk do a chair workout;

  • Treat yourself to a “Stretch Snack” with some simple drills morning or evening, focusing on your breath to alleviate stress, anxiety and aid muscle recovery. 

Celebrate your wins in a journal and enjoy your feel good journey! 

Lavina Mehta was awarded an MBE for services to health and fitness during Covid-19. She is an award-winning, personal trainer and wellness coach, regularly on TV and radio passionately promoting the health benefits of exercise to treat, prevent and reduce risks of common chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis. She is an Ambassador for Diabetes UKandalso a big advocate of the mental health benefits of exercise, with her slogan to Exercise for Sanity not Vanity. She is also a member of the Menopause Mandate.

In her ‘Feel Good’ series with ‘iGlobal’, she shares stories from her journey into fitness, workout tips and announcements about her upcoming online sessions.

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  • To help you Feel Good physicallyandmentally, use Lavina’s FREE “Exercise Snacks”and“21 Day Feel Good Workout Plan” on her Instagram IGTVandGym Snacks on her Instagram REELS.

  • Lavina also has special offers to join her NEW Online Training Package, which includes access to her private Feel Good Facebook Community with over 200 saved workouts for replay on demand, in a supportive community for women to share meals, recipes and tips! It also includes to her Exclusive Feel Good App, which provides structured plans for the GymandHome, to log and track your workouts, food, measurements and progress. More here.

  • Tune into Lavina’s FREE seniors’ workout sessions every Friday at 10am GMT on Zoom. She also has over 100 saved sessions you can replay anytime that suits you, many translated into Gujarati with her mother-in-law on YouTube.

*Info: Feel Good with Lavina

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