Telling Menopause Who’s the Boss

By MauriceHarris – October 3, 2013

If you’ve met me or seen my website, this won’t be a shock… I am NOT a woman.  I am a former professional athlete, football-playing man’s man.  So why I am writing about menopause?  Because many of my clients are women, and I make their health my business.  Physical activity won’t get rid of hot flashes and sleep disturbances I hear all about. You know what I’m talking about ladies:  You’re lying there, trying to sleep, and every five minutes, you ask your husband, “Are you HOT?”  I can’t do much about that other than to suggest a ceiling fan.  However, I can tell you that consistent, physical activity during menopause does relieve stress, build bone density, ward off signs of aging, and improve quality of life.

For most healthy women, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends both aerobic activity and strength training.  I recommend at least two hours of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.  You can spread it out throughout the week.  If you don’t know where to begin, here is Coach Mo’s menopause survival cheat sheet:

Aerobic activity is the foundation of most fitness programs.  Some good options include brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, or water aerobics.  Aim for any physical activity that uses large muscle groups and increases your heart rate level.  If you are a beginner, start with 30 minutes of light activity a day and gradually increase the intensity and duration.  Take long walks with a friend or walk your dog.  Keep pushing yourself and, eventually, an hour will breeze by.

Perform strength training exercises at least twice a week.  Regular strength training can help you reduce body fat, strengthen your muscles, and more efficiently burn calories.  Using free weights and/or resistance tubing is the best way to tone up those areas you love to hate.  Remember to choose a weight or resistance level heavy enough to fatigue your muscles after 12 repetitions.  Gradually increase the resistance level as you get stronger.

Stretching is very important as it helps improve flexibility.  If you just can’t make yourself do simple stretches at home, try a yoga class once or twice a week. Yoga is especially good because it will also help you improve balance, which can prevent injuries from slips and spills down the line.  I know that the last thing you want to do is linger in the gym after a tough workout, but it’s best to stretch when your muscles are warm and more receptive to improving flexibility.

Increase your stability and balance.  Balancing exercises will improve overall stability and can help prevent falls.  Try simple exercises, such as standing on one leg, high-kicks, and sideways walking.  In addition to yoga, activities such as Pilates and tai chi can also improve your stability and balance.

Growing older happens to all of us, but don’t grow older passively!  Go into menopause prepared and ready to fight back.  Be the strongest, healthiest version of yourself possible.  As they say, age is just a number, and menopause is a phase that passes.  Fitness can last forever.

Now drop and give me 20 push-ups!


Day 1 Workout

1.5 or 2-mile walk

Balance Core drills
High Kicks
(1 set of 10)
Opposite arm to opposite leg. Try to kick your hands with your feet.

Side Shuffles or Sideways Walks
(1 set of 6)
Lead with left leg for six and then right leg for six.

One Leg Stand
(1 set of 20 seconds)
Stand on each leg for twenty seconds. Focus on lasting the entire time.

(2 sets, 45 seconds to 1 minute)
Remember to hold great form.

Strength training
Body Weight Squats
(3 sets of 20)
Be sure to have great form; never let your knees go over your toes.

Bicep Curls
(3 sets of 18)
Use low weight with high reps. Tone it up!

(3 sets of 20, 10 each leg)
The key is to get your heart rate up.  Burn those calories.

(3 sets of 15)
If you need to do modified push-ups (on your knees), go ahead; as you get stronger, add more and do regular push-ups.

Triceps Extension
(3 sets of 18)
Keep elbow tight to the side, and fully extend through the movement.

Stretch after your workout!

Day 2 Workout

I highly recommend Pilates or yoga.

Day 3 Workout

Play tennis with friends or go for a long walk.

This is a basic idea of a workout routine to follow.  Please consult with a trainer to make sure your form for every exercise is being done correctly.  You can always add more as you go.



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