Beat Menopausal Weight Gain

Stress-free ways to stay fit.

By The North American Menopause Society
menopause, perimenopause, weight loss, weight gain, fat, slim, fit
Photograph: Daniel Laflor

Regular exercise should be a vital part of every woman’s life: It helps preserve physical and mental health and contributes to a higher quality of life. At menopause, physical activity also helps keep women’s hearts, bones, moods, and dress sizes at their best. Experts recommend doing physical activity at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week. Here are six simple ways to build more into your daily life.

  • Set aside 15 minutes: Go for brisk walks, practice your yoga poses, or drop and see how many push-ups you can do.
  • Take the long way: Use the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car at the far end of the parking lot, and walk whenever possible.
  • Be active on weekends: Do something physical for one hour each weekend day, such as gardening, raking leaves, or riding your bike.
  • Seek support: Talk to your friends and family about becoming more active. Join forces to motivate each other by planning activities together.
  • Keep it simple: Create an exercise-friendly environment by keeping walking shoes at work or an exercise bag in the car. Continue the activities you are doing now but do them more often.
  • Seek assistance: Your healthcare provider can help you determine the initial level of exercise appropriate for you. Increase the duration and intensity as you adjust to the new lifestyle.

Once your initial goals have been accomplished, work on a long-term plan. There are three types of exercises to include in your regimen: aerobic, weight-bearing, and flexibility.

1. Professionals suggest 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day for the greatest effect on heart and lung health. Remember, this doesn’t have to happen all at once. Three 10-minute sessions can have the same impact. Previously inactive women should gradually work up to this level. A good way to start is simply a 15-minute walk at a moderate pace three times per week. 

2. Weight-bearing activities, such as fast walking or working with weights to build muscle, delay or prevent bone loss.

3.  Flexibility exercises, such as yoga and stretching, help keep your muscles strong and supple as you age. They can also improve your balance, which lessens the risk of fractures caused by falls. Both weight-bearing and flexibility exercises should be done two to three times per week.

And remember, exercising in moderation is important. This may sound crazy (or very appealing), but use common sense! "No pain, no gain" is not a good exercise motto. Start your new routine slowly after checking with your healthcare provider. Following an approved program reduces your risk of injury.

For more information on incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle, check out these Web sites:

Feeling Fit for Life

Shape Up America

For more tips on how to transform the menopause experience into a positive one, visit the NAMS website.

Next: Make Yourself Immune to Menopausal Stress

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First Published May 3, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!


Brenda Pat06.28.2011

There are lots of kick-start programs which are easy to find for free on the net but I wouldn't recommend a single one of them for the simple reason that a phase of losing weight quickly is counter-productive to sustainable weight loss.

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