During menopause, the body decreases its production of certain hormones. This can increase the risk of bone loss and other health-related problems, such as heart disease and cancer. Although you cannot prevent menopause, there are several steps that you can take to ensure that you stay healthy and fit during menopause and beyond.
Eat More Bone-Healthy Nutrients
Reduction in estrogen that naturally occurs during menopause increases the rate of bone loss, so it is important to get enough calcium and Vitamin D in your diet. While dairy products are the main source of both of these nutrients, there are other sources for those who do not like or cannot tolerate these foods. Dark green, leafy vegetables such as collards, spinach, and kale contain lots of calcium, as do canned fish, soy products, and certain beans and nuts. Cold-water fish, egg yolks, and mushrooms contain Vitamin D. Your body produces Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, so make sure to spend enough time outdoors.
Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease with Heart-Healthy Foods
You can keep your cholesterol levels down and decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. The best sources are cold-water fish, flaxseed, and certain nuts. You should try to eat these fish at least twice a week or take fish oil capsules. Omega-3s are not only good for the heart, but these fatty acids may also help to reduce breast cancer risk, which also increases after menopause. Reduce refined and processed foods and increase whole grains and water intake to reduce bloating. Additionally, foods that contain soy have an estrogenic effect on the body and may help to alleviate some symptoms of menopause.
Increase Weight-Bearing Exercise for Healthy Bones and Muscles
Strength training or weight bearing activities help to build muscle and bone mass. As muscles are strained, they pull on bone, triggering growth in both muscle cells and bone cells. Although it might be more difficult to build additional muscle or bone during and after menopause, this type of exercise can slow the loss of these tissues. Free weights, weight machines, rowers, and even bodyweight exercises can help to slow muscle and bone loss. Another benefit is that muscle burns more calories than fat, helping you to keep a healthy metabolism that can keep you from gaining excessive weight during menopause. Allow your body a day of rest between strength training a particular area of your body for maximum cell repair and growth.
Add Aerobic Activity for Healthy Weight, Cardiovascular Benefits, and Overall Wellness
Aerobic activity helps to strengthen the heart, burn calories, and help with other symptoms associated with menopause. Engaging in heart-pumping activities for an hour at a time on three to five days a week can also help to improve your mood for your emotional health during these hormonal changes. Cardiovascular exercise can also help with insomnia and other sleep disturbances often associated with menopause. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise can also help you to lose weight. Weight loss during menopause helps to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer and may also help to reduce the severity of hot flashes. Swimming is a great choice because it works your entire body without putting too much stress on your joints. A specialist who teaches NYC swimming lessons reports that, when done properly, swimming can be an excellent aerobic exercise. If you are overweight or experience painful joints from certain health problems, aquatic exercise can give you the workout you need with less pain.
Aging is inevitable. However, when you take control of your health, you can reduce the negative impact that menopause and aging have on your body.