From the age of 30, our muscles begin to decline and our bones – having peaked – begin to lose strength and density. As oestrogen dips during and after menopause, this decline accelerates and we notice changes in our muscle tone. However, it’s not all doom and gloom – you can take back control and you don’t even have to hit the gym!
You can boost your bones and your muscles with some simple load-bearing exercises, with the added benefit of burning calories and helping your heart to stay healthy too. This takes 10-15 minutes and you can do it at home so it’s easy to fit into your busy life. So try MenoHealth’s picks for exercises specifically tailored to those of you going through the menopause.
Don’t worry, there’s no rope in sight! Imagine you’re skipping, so your arms naturally circle forward or back at your sides. Begin by just stepping over the ‘rope’ and build up to a hop, from foot to foot. Your heart rate will rise pretty quickly, so at first just skip for 20 seconds then march on the spot for 20 seconds and repeat. Build up gradually to skip for 60 seconds and, when that feels easy, introduce jumping over the ‘rope’ with both feet. Alternate low to high intensity and increase the time as you get fitter. Just 5 minutes every day will make a difference as skipping burns 25 percent more calories than running. It’s a good idea to wear trainers to cushion your joints.
This is great for your core and glutes. Kneel on your hands and knees, hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Engage your abdominal
muscles then lift one leg out behind keeping it parallel to the floor. At the same
time stretch the opposite arm out in front at shoulder level. Hold for up to 5 seconds then relax and repeat 10 times; repeat on the other side. Remember to breathe normally throughout. Kneel on a yoga mat or cushion to protect your knees.
Kneel to stand
This is an alternative to lunges and it really works your thighs and core muscles, it also challenges your balance. Use a mat or cushion then lower down onto one knee. Push up to stand without using your hands, then lower down onto the
opposite knee and repeat. Aim to do 10 on each knee and as it gets easier try raising your arms above your head as you push up from the floor.
Tone your arms and hips with this simple exercise. Hold 0.5kg hand weights or bottles of water in each hand. Take your weight onto one foot, softening the knee slightly, then raise the other leg out to the side and hold for up to 5 seconds. Combine this with raising your arms out at shoulder level then lower arms and leg down slowly and with control. Aim to do 5-10 on each leg and when it feels easy, increase the hand weights to 1kg.
Want to read more about what you can do to handle symptoms of the menopause? Find out more at MenoHealth.